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CPW News Release
CPW News Release
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11/2/2020
Governor Polis signs Executive Order creating Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Travis Duncan
Statewide Public Information Officer
720-595-8294 / travis.duncan@state.co.us

Governor Polis signs Executive Order creating Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative

 At the opening of Fishers Peak State Park in Trinidad on Friday, Oct. 30, Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order creating the Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TRINIDAD, Colo. –  At the opening of Fishers Peak State Park in Trinidad on Friday, Oct. 30, Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order creating the Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative.

“I am excited to sign this Executive Order that, building upon the work that’s already been done in our state, will take an eyes-wide-open and locally rooted approach to ensuring we remain a world-class outdoor destination while preserving our land, water, wildlife, and quality of life,” said Governor Polis. “This Executive Order will help create a long-term statewide vision and plan to provide all Coloradans with sustainable and equitable access to outdoor recreation, while accounting for the many factors that impact our landscapes, water and wildlife, including climate change.” 

The executive order lays out three primary goals:

1. Ensure that Colorado’s lands, waters and wildlife thrive in the face of climate change and other threats while also providing for equitable and safe access and quality outdoor recreation experiences for all Coloradans;

2. Establish a state-level vision for conservation and recreation and convene voices from different outdoor interests, races, cultures, ages, and sectors through regional partnerships to inform the development of a shared strategy and statewide action plan; 

3. Identify additional stable and long-term funding from multiple, sustainable sources to provide for the critical investments needed to conserve Colorado’s landscapes, rivers, wildlife, sensitive habitats and recreational opportunities. 

The executive order tasks the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to work with the Colorado Outdoor Partnership (CO-OP) to establish a statewide vision for conservation and recreation for our public and private lands and waters to ensure our communities are healthy, livable and prosperous for future generations. 

The CO-OP convenes a broad spectrum of voices representing outdoor recreation, conservation and agriculture. While the CO-OP will set a state-level vision, local and regional voices across Colorado are essential to developing a plan for balancing recreation and conservation and ensuring equitable and sustainable access to Colorado’s outdoors. The State will invest in new and existing regional collaboratives through the Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative. 

Together DNR, CPW, the CO-OP, and regional partnerships will develop a statewide plan for the sustainable management of Colorado’s lands, waters, wildlife and outdoor recreation that sets desired outcomes and milestones to track collective progress. This process will take time, but DNR has set goals for the CO-OP to have released a statewide vision by the spring of 2021 and to have at least a half dozen regional partnerships funded over the next two years. Ultimately, CPW will align this new plan with the  Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation (and Conservation) Plan (SCORP) with more emphasis on what is needed to conserve wildlife and open spaces and to make for a more robust planning process with increased collaboration from communities across the state.

“Balancing Colorado’s conservation and recreation needs is at the heart of much of our work at CPW and one of our biggest challenges,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow. “Colorado’s land, water, wildlife, and recreation infrastructure have been strained by a dramatic increase in population, tourism, and outdoor use. This EO will help us meet these challenges head-on through thoughtful planning and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders.” 

CPW, courtesy of its partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), is committed to funding this initiative and will release additional information on planning grants later this year.

“GOCO's 2020 strategic plan is rooted in community-centered visions,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian. “We are pleased to support this initiative that will allow local and regional partners to address wildlife and outdoor recreation issues in a way that supports community priorities.”  

Through Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships, CPW will support existing and new coalitions for the engagement of a broad range of interests, including local governments, local, county, state and federal land managers, tribes, community-based organizations and partners in conservation, agriculture, outdoor recreation, hunting, angling and the outdoor industry. The state will provide funding to these partnerships for the development of regional strategies to address outdoor recreation needs, disparities in access, and conservation of wildlife and other natural resources.
 
“In order to provide all Coloradans with the economic, social, and health benefits of outdoor recreation, Colorado must support a statewide vision that balances the conservation of our natural assets with opportunities to develop outdoor recreation economies as a key strategy to achieving economic diversification and resilience across the state,” said Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Director Nathan Fey. 

The Initiative also establishes the Inter-Agency Conservation and Recreation Council, where state agencies will convene to coordinate ideas and programs to support Regional Partnerships. 

During the COVID-19 crisis, safe outdoor spaces provide mental and physical health benefits. Looking ahead, accommodating Colorado’s growing demand for outdoor recreation while conserving natural resources is a top priority.

To stay updated on this effort, visit https://copartnership.org/regional-partnerships for more information. 
 
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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: 41 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.
   
Copyright © 2020 Colorado Parks and Wildlife, All rights reserved.
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