DENVER – Coloradans will soon have the option to add an annual state park pass when they renew their vehicle registration, but what are current annual state park pass holders supposed to do when their park pass expires before they’re able to renew their vehicle registration? Colorado Parks and Wildlife finally has an answer.
This month, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission approved a refund policy for Colorado residents who purchase the Keep Colorado Wild Pass “that will cover the time between when a current annual pass expires and when a vehicle registration is due,” officials announced in a news release Friday.
Beginning in 2023, Colorado residents will have the option to add a $29 fee to their annual vehicle registration for a Keep Colorado Wild Pass, which will give state residents easy access to all state parks and “the added benefit of investing in our great outdoors and wildlife in a meaningful way,” the release states.
Currently, an annual family pass to visit all of Colorado’s state parks is $120. A pass associated with one vehicle is $80 (a second costs $50) and daily passes range from $9-11 per vehicle.
The new system, CPW officials said, will help divert funds toward state park maintenance, better support for the volunteers and equipment needs of the Colorado Backcountry Search and Rescue system, benefit avalanche safety programs, wildlife and habitat conservation work and outdoor educational programs for local communities.
“Because vehicle registrations happen throughout the year, there will be situations where current Colorado Parks and Wildlife annual park pass customers will have overlapping annual passes,” officials said Friday.
For annual passes, the refunded amount will be based on a flat prorated refund structure, meaning the amount of refund a person gets will be based on the price of the original pass divided by 12 months and rounded up to the nearest dollar. The prorated amount per month will range between $3 - $10, depending on the originally purchased pass type for that vehicle, CPW officials said.
Residents will have 60 days after the Keep Colorado Wild Pass purchase date to file for a refund.
Qualifying tax-exempt military plates will receive the Keep Colorado Wild Pass free of charge during the registration process, CPW officials said. All currently free and reduced-price CPW passes (such as Blue Spruce, Independence, Columbine and Centennial passes) will continue to be available to customers through application and authorization from CPW, they said.
Those wanting a refund can request one though an online platform managed by CPW which will require creating or updating an account in the agency’s integrated purchasing system. Customers will then be refunded to the card on file in the system used for online or phone purchases. All other pass refunds will be paid in the form of a CPW Shop gift certificate or a check if purchased at a park, office or agent, based on the customer’s preference, officials said.
Refunds will only be available for the first two calendar years after the new program is implemented as officials believe “this time period should cover all the gaps and overlaps that could potentially exist before all noncommercial Colorado-plated vehicles have the option to purchase the Keep Colorado Wild Pass.”
Drivers who do not wish to get a Keep Colorado Wild Pass can opt-out when renewing your vehicle registration.