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About CNAP
About CNAP

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Our Mission

To identify, evaluate, and support the protection of specific examples of natural features and phenomena as enduring resources for present and future generations, through a statewide system of Designated Natural Areas. CNAP provides these benefits with a committed staff, an active Council, and numerous partners and volunteers.​

Benefits of Designation

  • Recognizing ​a landowner's/manager’s outstanding environmental stewardship​​

  • Recognition and documentation of natural value in the context of Colorado

  • Enhanced awareness of conservation value to land use decision-makers and public land users

  • Long-term institutional memory through documentation of baseline conditions and changes over time

  • Assistance in monitoring sensitive areas by staff and volunteer stewards

  • Opportunities for expert scientific review and research of significant features of the property 

  • Access to the Program's network of partners and knowledge of resources to support conservation and stewardship 

  • May help to avoid listing of species under the Endangered Species Act, prevent species extinction, and support species recovery​


The Colorado Natural Areas P​rogram, within Colorado Parks and Wildlife, has been recognizing and conserving Colorado's most important natural places for over 40 years. The Program was unanimously reauthorized by the Colorado Legislature in 2004, and the Council was reauthorized in 2014. CNAP has received strong bipartisan support for each reauthorization throughout its history.

​Since the Natural Areas A​ct of 1977, Colorado's Natural Areas Program has: 

  • Designated 96 natural area sites

  • Designated over 183,000 acres as natural areas

  • ​Recruited and worked with over 100 volunteer stewards

  • Designated Natural Ar​eas in 40 counties

  • Has become a leader within the state for rare plant conservation

  • Identified and evaluated over 30 remarkable geologic and paleontological​ features

  • Supported ​​​​​the conservation of more than 250 rare, threatened or endangered species or communities on Designated Natural Areas​