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Colorado Natural Areas Program - CNAP
Colorado Natural Areas Program - CNAP
CNAP Area El Park.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife celebrates 40 years of the Colorado Natural Areas Program

This statewide program recognizes and works to conserve locations that have one or more unique natural features important to Colorado. Natural areas are found on both public or private lands, and are officially designated through voluntary conservation agreements with landowners.

“I like to say that CNAP is a small program with a big mission,” said Raquel Wertsbaugh, Colorado Natural Areas Program Coordinator. “I’m thankful that these incredibly special places in our state are supported by CNAP not only to ensure the longevity of the natural features themselves but for future generations to learn from and be inspired by.”


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Established by statute in 1977, the Colorado Natural Areas Program is a statewide program focused on the recognition and protection of areas that contain at least one uniqu​e or high-quality natural featu​​​​re of statewide significance.

The Colorado Natural Areas Program, working with interested landowners and dedicated volunteers, helps to conserve Colorado’s best places well into the future. To date, more than 250 rare, threatened or endangered species and communities are monitored and cooperatively protected at 95 designated sites in Colorado, with more in the works. Natural areas are found on public or private land and are designated through land management agreements with landowners.​ CNAP is the only statewide program within Colorado that provides a sys​tem for recognizing these unique natural places. ​​

 Designation at Staunton

Staunton State Park celebrated the recent designation of portions of the park as a Colorado Natural Area during a mid-September ceremony. The designation is the result of collaborative efforts. The Resource Stewardship Program​ within CPW assists State Parks​ and CNAP in protecting significant natural resources while developing visitor opportunities. 

>>Read More on the Designation

 CNAP Story Map

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​Check out CNA​P's new story map​- a great resource for learning more about the program, its volunteers, partners,  conservation projects, and highlighted state natural areas that you can visit! 

 Get Involved

CNAP Volunteers

​Do you have experience in botany, wildlife biology, geology or paleontology? Do you enjoy orienteering or back county travel? If so, you may be able to help with on the ground conservation at one of our natural areas. Our volunteers are a crucial asset to our program. Thank you for taking a look at our volunteer programs.​​

CNAP Triennial Report​​

The​ CNAP Triennial Report for 2015 - 2017 is issued every three years and relates the status of the State’s most special areas and highlights recent accomplishments, new designations, and the program’s emphasis on rare plant conservation.​​

​​Annual Newsletter

Newsletter coverOur dedicated volunteer stewards, partners, staff, and Natural Areas Council continue to be an invaluable asset to the Colorado Natural Areas Program (CNAP). To learn more about CNAP's successes and accomplishments​, please read the 2020 Annual N​​ewsletter​​.