parks signing

Gov. Jared Polis signs legislation to put $20 million into 12 Colorado state parks during a ceremony at Cherry Creek State Park on March 20, 2021.

Gov. Jared Polis and a contingency of state officials gathered at the marina at Cherry Creek State Park on Sunday morning to hail new legislation to steer $20 million from the state operating budget to state parks next year.

The windfall is expected to accelerate development of Fishers Peak State Park, so declared by Polis last year, and 11 other parks that have seen high use and a high likelihood of continued growing demand.

The transfer was made possible by two bills:

  • Senate Bill 112, sponsored by Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo; and Sen. Cleave Simpson, R-Alamosa; with Reps. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon; and Perry Will, R-New Castle.
  • Senate Bill 42, sponsored by McCluskie and Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.

“Throughout the pandemic, we watched our Colorado community flock to our state parks in record numbers for solace and the mental and health benefits associated with spending time outdoors,” Polis said in a statement. “The increase in park visitation proves the importance of outdoor spaces to Coloradans, and our collective need to invest in preserving and improving our state park system so our human use does not overwhelm our state’s natural resources.

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"This increased funding, which is part of Colorado’s bipartisan stimulus package, will provide additional access and recreational opportunities that connect people to the outdoors and protect the landscapes that make Colorado so spectacular.”

The other parks on the improvement list are:

  • Boyd Lake State Park
  • Lake Pueblo State Park
  • Cherry Creek State Park
  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
  • Ridgway State Park
  • Steamboat Lake State Park
  • North Sterling State Park
  • Chatfield State Park
  • Jackson Lake State Park
  • Navajo State Park
  • Cameo Shooting and Education Complex

The governor's office said the dignitaries scheduled to attend the bill signing included Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera; House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver; Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder; and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo; Department of Natural Resources executive director Dan Gibbs; Department of Public Safety executive director Stan Hilkey; and Colorado Parks and Wildlife director Dan Prenzlow.

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