Colorado

Recreation: Colorado's Parks and Open Spaces

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Recreation: Colorado's Parks and Open Spaces
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Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

Endangered funding for Colorado’s wild play spaces

Whether fly fishing gold medal waters along the Upper Colorado River, hiking in famed mountains or enjoying city parks, Coloradans and visitors to Colorado love the state’s green spaces. These wild playgrounds are essential to Colorado’s economy and way of life. For the past 50 years, a relatively unknown but beloved federal program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), has developed community parks, preserved cultural heritage sites, secured boating and angling access.

But this critical conservation program could go unfunded, leaving many Colorado landscapes--in both the city and wild--without the support they desperately need.

Why this matters

Colorado relies on the Land and Water Conservation Fund to provide access for hunting and fishing, support local park development and protect well-known public lands like Great Sand Dunes National Park.

$268 million for conservation
has been given to Colorado in the past 50 years.
1,000 conservation projects
The Land and Water Conservation Fund supports these in Colorado alone.
Rocky Mountain National Park
This popular park and the highly visited White River National Forest have benefited from the fund.

The threat

The future of the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Colorado’s wild places is uncertain. Congress has never fully funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the extent promised when the program was created in 1964, consistently robbing the program of its full potential. Not just that, but Congress fails to permanently reauthorize the fund, leaving it in constant uncertainty.

With Colorado’s economy reliant on outdoor recreation, it’s vital that we support this most important conservation program. We want to keep green space in local communities while also safeguarding wildlands like Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

A bipartisan majority of Colorado’s Congressional delegation supports the fund, and we will continue to push for the full funding of this program for the sake of preserving green spaces for future generations.

What we're doing

  1. Raising awareness

    We’re raising the profile of LWCF-funded parks across Colorado through storytelling projects, earned media, and events.

  2. Working towards full and permanent funding

    We’re working with local governments and businesses to urge Congress to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the program.

  3. Collaborating with partners

    We are collaborating with partners to highlight the fund’s benefits to historically marginalized communities.

What you can do
Urge your member of Congress to act for permanent reauthorization and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Act now