December 3, 2018
The last time the price of most hunting and fishing licenses increased was in 2006 (excluding nonresident big game licenses, which were able to be adjusted annually with changes in the Consumer Price Index [CPI]). The bill that authorized those increases was adopted by the legislature in 2005. Since that time, inflation increased about 30%, reducing CPW’s spending power and forcing CPW to cut or defund 50 positions and reduce $40 million from the wildlife budget.
CPW faces significant financial challenges: increasing operational costs, changes to minimum wage and temporary benefits, additional vendor and technology costs, property maintenance needs, etc. The Future Generations Act (SB 18-143) granted the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission the authority to raise most wildlife license prices to the new statutory maximum amounts established by the Act. These increases to wildlife license prices will help the agency better address its financial challenges, while implementing new outreach efforts and enhancing the management of Colorado’s wildlife and habitats. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
All changes will go into effect on January 1, 2019. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
Nonresident big game licenses have generally increased annually with inflation as approved by the Commission. For 2019, nonresident big game licenses will remain at the 2018 license price, which is also the price established in the Future Generations Act. With the passage of the Act, all wildlife license prices (resident and nonresident) now can be adjusted annually with inflation (both up and down). However, the Commission decided not to adjust any license prices with inflation this year. Starting in 2020, the Commission will consider making annual CPI adjustments to all wildlife license prices. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
The last time CPW increased the price of resident and nonresident small game and fishing licenses was 2006. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
Yes, with the passage of the Future Generations Act, all wildlife license prices now can be adjusted annually with inflation. However, the Commission decided not to adjust any hunting or fishing license prices with inflation for the 2019 license year. A base increase on these licenses was approved for 2019 as the last fee increase on these licenses was in 2006. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
In 2019, the resident senior annual fishing license (ages 65+) will cost $8 instead of being free. This is a 75% discount off the cost of a regularly priced resident annual fishing license ($33). The $8 price level on these licenses will help ensure CPW receives federal funds which are based on the number of people who purchase fishing licenses. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
All fishing licenses are free for youth under 16 years old. Starting in 2019, Colorado residents ages 16 and 17 will pay $8 for an annual fishing license (instead of full price, a 75% discount).
There is not a nonresident youth fishing license for ages 16 & 17, as state law did not establish this license type. Nonresidents who are 16 & 17 years old must pay the full license price. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
State law did not establish these license types. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
In 2019, nonresident bear licenses will cost $100. This discount reflects the Commission’s desire to incentivize additional harvest of bears. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
In 2019, a wildlife education fee of $1.50 (an increase from $0.75 in 2018) and a search and rescue fee of $0.25 (unchanged from 2018) will be assessed on almost every fishing and hunting license sold. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
The application fee for the limited license drawing will increase from $3 to $7 for residents and from $3 to $9 for nonresidents. If successful in the draw, the applicant will then be charged the price of the license (pay-after-you-draw; same as in 2018). This application fee increase is intended to cover CPW’s cost to operate the drawing. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
The $7 price for residents and the $9 price for nonresidents covers the estimated costs of administering the limited license drawing (including vendor fees, credit card transaction fees and staff time). The nonresident application fee is greater due to the higher credit card transaction fees associated with the higher price of nonresident licenses. In other words, credit card fees are based on a fixed percentage of the license fee, so the greater the license fee, the greater the credit card fee. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
A qualifying hunting license, valid between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, must be purchased in order to apply for any 2019 big game license. A qualifying license includes: 1) an annual resident or nonresident small game hunting licenses; 2) an annual resident or nonresident spring turkey license; or 3) resident small game/fishing combination license (only available to residents). Qualifying licenses for the 2019 big game drawing will be available for purchase on March 1, 2019. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission may consider whether to include the veterans lifetime resident combination license as a qualifying hunting license at its January 2019 meeting; visit the Commission website for the latest information. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
In 2019, preference point fees will only be charged for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat applications. Preference point fees for each of these species will be $50 for residents and $100 for nonresidents. There are no longer preference point fees for elk, deer, pronghorn, or bear. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
The new requirement to purchase a qualifying hunting license before applying for the big game limited license drawing ensures that all hunters financially contribute to the Division’s wildlife conservation and management programs in Colorado. A similar approach is used in several other western states and it replaces CPW’s previous pay-to-play fee for deer, elk, pronghorn and bear applicants who were unsuccessful in the drawing or who applied for a preference point as their first choice and did not hold a qualifying license. The previous pay-to-play fee was first adopted by the Commission in 2005 with a similar philosophy of ensuring all applicants for the big game limited license drawing financially contributed to wildlife conservation in Colorado, especially drawing applicants who were only seeking preference points and were not otherwise buying a license. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
The qualifying license is intended to ensure hunters are not accumulating preference points without otherwise making a financial contribution to wildlife conservation in Colorado. OTC licenses do not require or use preference points and the hunter is making a financial contribution to wildlife conservation by purchasing the OTC license. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
No, a qualifying license is only required for applicants to the big game limited license drawing. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
The qualifying licenses for the 2019 big game drawing will be available for purchase on March 1, 2019. CPW will begin accepting applications for the 2019 big game limited license drawing on March 1, 2019 as well. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
This change was made to facilitate CPW’s ability to check a customer’s record for a qualifying license (the 2019 license approach is less staff intensive than using the former “look back” approach). It also ensures that hunters are contributing financially to wildlife conservation and management in Colorado in the year they participate in the drawing. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
The requirement to purchase a qualifying license is primarily intended to ensure that all big game applicants are financially contributing to wildlife conservation and management in general and specifically to the amount of annual federal funding Colorado receives for hunting-related purposes (rather than fishing-related purposes). (Back to Wildlife Questions)
The Commission did not discuss at its November 2018 meeting whether the purchase of a preference point for these species would be mandatory or optional. A decision about that is scheduled for the Commission's January meeting in Denver. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
Yes, youth (above 12 and under 18 years of age, as defined in statute 33-4-117), residents who are in the military and on active duty outside of Colorado and lifetime license holders are exempt from the preference point fee requirement. (Back to Wildlife Questions)
Colorado State Parks used to receive almost 30% of operating dollars from the state general fund but since 2010, state parks have not received funding from state general tax dollars except occasional small amounts (less than one percent of the budget) for special projects. The loss of general funds resulted in reduced park programs and cuts to the number of full-time and temporary staff.
At present, CPW faces significant financial challenges: increasing operational costs, changes to minimum wage and temporary benefits, additional vendor and technology costs, property maintenance needs, etc. Increases to park fees and products will help the agency face its financial challenges, while providing continued services to a growing number of park visitors.
While the Commission had the authority to increase park fees, it could not exercise them because CPW had reached a total cap on park revenue (set in law). With the passage of the Future Generations Act (SB 18-143), the revenue cap was removed and the Commission now has the authority to raise park pass fees by no more than $1 annually on all daily park passes and by no more than $10 per year on annual park passes. All other park products/fees can now be adjusted as necessary without any cap. (Back to Park Questions)
Colorado State Park fees were last increased for camping in 2015 and in 2010 for daily and annual passes. (Back to Park Questions)
The new fees for park passes and permits will go into effect on January 1, 2019. (Back to Park Questions)
An individual daily vehicle pass will increase by $1 to $8 for most parks and to $9 for Cherry Creek, Chatfield, Boyd Lake and Eldorado Canyon state parks.
An annual pass that is affixed to a vehicle will increase by $10 to $80 ($40 for a multiple annual affixed vehicle pass). An Aspen Leaf annual pass (ages 64+) will increase by $10 to $70 ($35 for a multiple Aspen Leaf vehicle pass).
Centennial or Columbine annual parks passes will remain unchanged at $14 per person in 2019. (Back to Park Questions)
In 2019, individuals (ages 16+) who access any one of a select 20 state parks (Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Barr Lake, Crawford, Colorado State Forest, Eldorado Canyon, Elkhead Reservoir, Harvey Gap, Highline Lake, James M. Robb - Colorado River, Lory, Pearl Lake, Rifle Gap, Rifle Falls, Stagecoach, Steamboat Lake, Sweitzer Lake, Sylvan Lake, Trinidad Lake, Vega and Yampa River State Parks) without a vehicle will be required to buy an individual daily pass, which costs $4. A receipt for any annual parks pass would also be acceptable for entry without a vehicle. (Back to Park Questions)
This change reflects the legislature’s desire to begin charging individuals who enter parks via means other than a vehicle. The legislature expects this non-vehicle fee to ultimately be extended to most parks. (Back to Park Questions)
In 2019, CPW will pilot a new type of hang tag annual pass that is issued to an individual, not a vehicle. It will cost $120. The benefit of this type of pass is that it can be used on any vehicle as long as the owner of the hang tag is an occupant. (Back to Park Questions)
The fee to replace a lost or destroyed annual affixed vehicle pass will remain unchanged at $5 and affixed vehicle passes can be replaced multiple times. The fee to replace a lost or stolen annual hang tag vehicle pass will be $60 and may be purchased only once. (Back to Park Questions)
There are no changes to the cost of a daily vehicle pass for a passenger in a van or bus operated by a commercial business. (Each daily vehicle pass for a passenger van or bus operated by a commercial business will remain $10 for vehicles carrying up to 15 passengers, $40 for vehicles carrying sixteen to thirty passengers and $50 for vehicles carrying more than thirty passengers.) (Back to Park Questions)
Yes, the special activity alternate individual fee (applies to groups of twenty or more people) will increase from $2 to $4. The special activity application filing fee will also increase from $20 to $30. (Back to Park Questions)
In 2019, the fees for campground permits will increase by between $4 and $13 depending on the campsite. The fees for cabins and yurts will increase by $10.
Customers will need to check the website to get correct camping prices for the state park they are wishing to visit. Prices can vary not only by the type of site and the park, but also seasonally and by day of the week at the same park.
The maximum fees allowed in 2019 will be $41/night for full hookup campgrounds (up from $30 in 2018), $36/night for electrical campgrounds (up from $26 in 2018), $28/night for basic campgrounds (up from $20 in 2018) and $18/night for primitive campgrounds (up from $12 in 2018). (Back to Park Questions)
Aspen Leaf, Columbine, Centennial or Volunteer park pass campground-use permits will be available at a reduced rate (excluding weekends and holidays).
Again, customers will need to check the website to get correct camping prices for the state park they are wishing to visit. Prices can vary not only by the type of site and the park, but also seasonally and by day of the week at the same park.
The maximum fees allowed for these reduced rate camping permits in 2019 are $38/night for full hookup campgrounds (up from $27 in 2018), $33/night for electrical campgrounds (up from $23 in 2018), $25/night for basic campgrounds (up from $17 in 2018) and $15/night for primitive campgrounds (up from $9 in 2018). (Back to Park Questions)
The reservation fee of $10 per campsite, cabin or yurt was eliminated. Instead, $4 has been added to the price of each type of camping site going forward.
The fee for each reservation change or cancellation will remain $6. For cancellations made 14 days or more prior to the beginning date of the reservation, only the cancellation fee will be charged (no reservation fee will be retained, as such a fee will no longer be charged under these new regulations). For cancellations made less than 14 days prior to the beginning date of the reservation, the cancellation fee as well as the first night’s camping fee will be charged (no reservation fee will be retained, as such a fee will no longer be charged under these new regulations). (Back to Park Questions)
No. Any reservation made/purchased before January 1, 2019 will be charged the 2018 price. This could lead to price discrepancies for the same sites, based on when the reservation was made. (Back to Park Questions)
The price of group picnic areas will increase in 2019. Class A – Deluxe Group Picnic Area permits will cost $150 (up from $90). Class B – Improved Group Picnic Area permits will cost $100 (up from $60). Class C – Basic Group Picnic Area permits will cost $50 (up from $30).
Customers will need to check the website to get correct prices for all other event facility fees. (Back to Park Questions)
The reservation fee for group camping areas, group picnic areas and other event facilities will remain unchanged at $10/facility. The group facility cancellation fees will also remain unchanged, as described in regulations #704, #706 and #708. (Back to Park Questions)
Additional money from sales of licenses, passes and permits will go towards achieving 10 goals by 2025. They include:
(Back to General CPW Questions)
CPW will report annually to the General Assembly on any changes made to CPW’s fee structure, the impact of those changes on license sales and the impact of new revenues on the achievement of the 10 goals. (Back to General CPW Questions)
For questions, please contact CPW’s customer service representatives using one of the following methods:
For concerns, please contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission using one of the following methods:
Colorado Parks & Wildlife Commission
c/o Commission Assistant
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
1313 Sherman St.
Denver, CO 80203
(Back to General CPW Questions)