The mission of Colorado Parks and Wildlife is to perpetuate the wildlife resources of the state, to provide a quality state parks system, and to provide enjoyable and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities that educate and inspire current and future generations to serve as active stewards of Colorado's natural resources.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a nationally recognized leader in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. The agency manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. CPW issues hunting and fishing licenses, conducts research to improve wildlife management activities, protects high priority wildlife habitat through acquisitions and partnerships, provides technical assistance to private and other public landowners concerning wildlife and habitat management and develops programs to understand, protect and recover threatened and endangered species.
CPW also administers the state's trail program and registers boats, snowmobiles, off-highway vehicles and river outfitters. Parks and Wildlife employees and their partners work together to provide ongoing and outstanding customer service through recreational programs, amenities, and services. Regulations are established by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission.
Director of Colorado Parks & Wildlife
Jeff Davis joined Colorado Parks and Wildlife as Director in May 2023. Prior to leading CPW, Jeff had a nearly 23-year career with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, serving as an Area Habitat Biologist, a Forest and Fish Section Manager, the Deputy Assistant Director and the Assistant Director of WDFW’s Habitat Program.
In his role as Director of Conservation Policy, Jeff led salmon recovery, served on the Forest Practices Board, and coordinated interdisciplinary internal teams on a variety of conservation initiatives. Jeff brings extensive experience working with leadership, legislators, Tribal Nations, the hunting and fishing community, conservation groups, and other constituencies to CPW. He has crafted legislation and regulatory approaches to habitat and biodiversity conservation, and engaged in climate resiliency, sustainability and land use/management issues similar to those facing Colorado. Jeff also led efforts to reform and improve agency engagement with a diverse public, championed internal diversity and equity priorities and successfully navigated complex budget and personnel issues.
Boards and Commissions Info
- Colorado Natural Areas Council
Colorado Natural Areas Council as an advisory council to the Board of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. The council advises the board on the administration of the Natural Areas Program, approves registry and recommends the designation of natural areas by the board.
The council consists of seven members: One member each from the membership of the parks board, the wildlife commission, and the state board of land commissioners appointed by their respective boards or commissions, who serve for three-year terms; and four members appointed by the governor that have a substantial interest in the preservation of natural areas and who serve four-year terms.
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is a 13-member board appointed by the governor. There are 11 voting members and two non-voting members of the Commission. The non-voting, or 'ex-officio' members are the Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and the State Agriculture Commissioner.
The Parks and Wildlife Commission sets Colorado Parks and Wildlife regulations and policies for the state's parks, wildlife and associated recreation programs. It is also responsible for making decisions about buying or leasing property for habitat and public access and for approving the agency's annual budget proposals and long-range plans. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is an enterprise agency that receives no general fund revenue. The state legislature has final authority over agency spending.
Commission members are unpaid volunteers who represent the geographic and stakeholder diversity of Colorado. The Commission makeup is established in statute: three seats are allocated for sportsmen, one of which is for an outfitter; three seats are for agriculture; three seats are for parks & recreation users, one of which is for a representative from a non-profit, non-consumptive organization; two seats are for at-large members. A minimum of four commissioners must be from west of the Continental Divide.
- State Board of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund
In 1992, Colorado voters approved creation of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund (GOCO), which receives a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to award grants for outdoor recreation, wildlife and open space. Both the Division of State Parks and the Division of Wildlife are designated recipients of GOCO dollars. A 15-member Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor oversees the trust fund.
- State Trails Committee
The State Trails Program, which is managed by Colorado State Parks, was established in 1971. The ongoing mission of the program is to develop a statewide network of trails to link communities, preserve open space and provide access to public land for a variety of uses. The eight member State Trails Committee is comprised of representatives from each of Colorado's six Congressional Districts plus two at-large representatives. The members are volunteers who advise Colorado State Parks on statewide trail issues.
- Wildlife Public Education Advisory Council
Many people don't understand the role that hunting and fishing play in managing wildlife populations. The average age of people who hunt and fish is rising and fewer and fewer young people are learning to hunt and fish. Some people are opposed to any hunting and fishing. Urban residents dominate the voting population in Colorado, but many urban citizens have never participated in hunting or fishing and are unaware of the importance of these activities.
In 1999, the state legislature created the Wildlife Management Public Education Advisory Council (PEAC). The job of the council was to develop and implement a comprehensive media-based information program to educate the general public about the benefits of wildlife, wildlife management, and wildlife-related recreation in Colorado. Despite its admirable mission, the Council lacked funding to accomplish its mission.
Sportsmen's Advisory Group members felt that a 75' surcharge on each hunting and fishing license sold in Colorado would be an appropriate method of funding the Council's public information campaign. The surcharge provision was approved and passed thereby providing the PEAC with needed funding. (The surcharge is in addition to the 25' search-and-rescue surcharge.)