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Cultural Resources
Cultural Resources
Petroglyphs near Palisade, CO.


Cultural resources are the physical evidence or place of prehistoric and historic human activities, above and below ground. Their preservation and protection is a social, cultural, economic, and environmental responsibility of all Colorado landowners and managers. It is for this reason that CPW’s resource stewardship program actively promotes the protection and preservation of these non-renewable and irreplaceable resources within all of its state parks. 

Why Are These Resources Important?Handler with golden eagle educates visitors about raptors at the International Sportsmen's Expo.

  • History belongs to everyone: Out of respect for the past and whenever we have the opportunity, we seek to protect it and share it in the most meaningful ways possible.

  • Connecting people to past and place: These sites and artifacts offer a way for us all to reconnect with the past and place. 

  • Educational and stewardship opportunities: Observing these resources in the context in which they were left hundreds, even thousands, of years ago is a privilege that the state, nation, and world loses every year by development, vandalism, and time. 

  • What we lose if we don’t protect them: In many cases what we can learn about prehistory and history is limited to what people left behind. 

  • Sustainable development: In many cases, preserving historical structures allows us to repurpose them. 

What Are The Associated Challenges?

  • In many of our state parks, these non-renewable resources are becoming increasingly endangered, particularly the historic structures, and without intervention they will be lost.

  • Cultural resources are often not prioritized, which makes securing funding difficult. 

  • Collection endangers cultural sites.

​What Is CPW Doing?

An interpreter leads an educational hike at  Sylvan Lake State Park.
  • ​​Our resource stewardship section provides support for parks to properly manage and preserve cultural resources.

  • We help parks complete projects while maintaining compliance with state and federal laws that protect cultural and natural resources.

  • We work to make sure that sites go undisturbed and that artifacts stay in the parks where they’re found.

  • We work closely with park staff and specialists to maintain the ecological and historical integrity of our parks now and for future generations while still providing the best possible recreational experience for park visitors.

  • We continually reach out to other organizations, companies and sister agencies to ensure sufficient funding.

  • We help parks nominate properties for inclusion to the National and State Registers of Historic Places. 


How Can You Help?​

Be vocal about your support and admiration of Colorado's amazing prehistoric and historic sites or ​cultural resources. 

Ask your park about their different resources you can visit.

Be aware of park rules that are there to protect all resources as well as park visitors:

  • If you think you have spotted an artifact, instead of picking it up notify park staff of where it is located.

  • Don’t collect anything- a rock may just look like a rock to you but to a trained eye it can end up being so much more.

  • Do not dig in the parks – this is illegal.

  • Stay on path – trails are there for a reason, you never know what type of resource, natural or cultural, that you and your pets may be disturbing by going off path.

  • Pick up your trash – food can attract animals that will disturb and burrow in archaeological sites.

  • Report vandalism - this includes collection, trespassing, digging, climbing on structures, writing on structures, etc. 

  • Most importantly if you love your state parks, minimize the impact that you have on them and “leave no trace.”

Be aware and advocate cultural resource protection laws (local, state, and national). 

Become a steward of these resources by getting involved and volunteering:

  • Become a Program for Avocational Archaeological Certification ​member

  • Become a Colorado Archaeological Society member​

​​​Take A Closer Look​

​For more information, see CPW’s Resource Stewardship​ ​page.