DENVER — More than 90 percent of Coloradans will head outside for outdoor fun every few weeks and with the state’s population increasing, Colorado Parks & Wildlife is addressing the needs that come with that.
As outdoor recreation participation booms, a new drafted plan by CPW addresses the state’s needs for conservation and outdoor recreation for the next five years. It’s called the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, or SCORP, and is available now for public review and comment.
The draft includes the findings of studies that examined outdoor recreation participation, barriers and motivations for getting outside, and management issues. The top four priorities listed in the draft are:
- Enhance sustainable access and opportunity to enjoy the outdoors
- Promote stewardship of natural, cultural and recreational resources
- Conserve lands, waters and wildlife
- Ensure adequate funding to sustain Colorado’s outdoors for the future
Mike Quartuch, human dimensions specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said 92 percent of Coloradans recreate outdoors at least once every few weeks and almost 70 percent do so one or more times a week.
The study found that residents’ favorite outdoor activities are walking and hiking, and about a third enjoy picnicking, camping and fishing.
“In 2014, our SCORP reported that outdoor recreation contributed $34.5 billion to Colorado’s economy," said Bob Broscheid, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "We anticipate this new report will show extensive growth in this powerhouse industry. Every report that comes out about this industry makes it one of the largest sectors in Colorado’s economy, greater than construction, finance and manufacturing. The impacts ripple across both urban and rural communities and benefit our daily lives.”
Because the state’s population is expected to grow by about 100,000 people every year over the next 20 years, the acreage for outdoor recreation is expected to drop about 20 percent, CPW reported.
“We are at a critical juncture in determining the future of conservation of the places we love and the demand for recreation opportunities,” Broscheid said. “Our outdoor spaces, recreation opportunities and wildlife are defining characteristics of Colorado. We cannot look at these as separate from one another. Conservation and outdoor recreation are intertwined. It is up to each of us to play an active role in caring for and maintaining these valuable assets. Our way of life depends on it.”
The public is invited to comment on the plan until Oct. 22 on the CPW’s SCORP website here.