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CPW News Release
CPW News Release
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Announces New Wintering Wildlife Conservation Initiative

Rachael Gonzales
Northwest Region Public Information Officer
970-773-8587 /
Twitter: @CPW_NW

Marissa Charlebois
WWCI Outreach Coordinator

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Announces New Wintering Wildlife Conservation Initiative

A cow (female) moose and her calf snack on much needed food to survive winter in Grand Lake, Colorado. Photo credit: CPW/Rachael Gonzales

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. - Wildlife are most vulnerable to human disturbance during the winter months. There is an urgent need to increase public awareness about the challenges wintering wildlife faces and what we can all do to protect and minimize human impacts on wildlife in winter. To do this, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has partnered with outdoor recreation organizations - Winter Wildlands Alliance and Colorado Mountain Club - to share new educational resources with Coloradans to help the winter recreationists understand and lessen winter recreation impacts on Colorado’s wildlife. With funding from GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) Wintering Wildlife Conservation Initiative (WWCI) debuted at the start of 2024 with a new website and resources for individuals and organizations to share.  

The primary goal of this initiative is to minimize human disturbance to wildlife during the winter and spring. Colorado has multiple big game species, including elk, mule deer, moose, and bighorn sheep. Winter disturbance or stress caused by humans jeopardizes these animal’s ability to survive into the following season and reduces females’ chances of successfully raising offspring. Disturbance on public land winter ranges can also push wildlife onto private lands or into transportation corridors. Thus winter disturbance can lead to significant herd and population declines, as well as increased road kill and game damage on private lands.  This campaign hopes to influence recreators to be aware of wildlife winter ranges and winter habitat needs and to use caution when entering areas with signs of recent wildlife activity. 

The campaign encourages winter recreationists to give wildlife space, be aware of winter habitat closures, and be prepared to alter their plans if they encounter wildlife or wildlife sign when recreating. A social posting toolkit for individuals, businesses, and organizations interested in spreading awareness on reducing wildlife disruption in the sensitive winter months can be found on the WWCI website, By helping to spread awareness, the WWCI will help to ensure the survival and well-being of wintering wildlife, even as winter recreation continues to grow across Colorado.

"Regardless of our intentions, many species perceive humans as a threat and respond accordingly," said Hilary Eisen, policy director with Winter Wildlands Alliance. WWCI’s mission is to provide important information to help winter recreationists navigate the backcountry while reducing their impact on wintering wildlife in Colorado’s public lands. 

“Winter is an extremely difficult time for wildlife. With limited access to food, it's important for wildlife to keep as many calories as possible for survival and reproduction,” said Jeromy Huntington Area Wildlife Manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We have seen an increase in the number of people recreating in Colorado's great outdoors during the winter, putting additional pressure and stress on wildlife, causing them to waste valuable calories needed for survival. Working with WWCI, we hope to bring more awareness and education to locals and visitors on the importance of protecting wildlife in the winter.”

For more information about the WWCI and how you, your business, or your organization can become involved, please visit or contact


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CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 43 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.
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