Family hiking on summer vacation in Colorado mountains.

Hikers in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fifty-six of Colorado’s 64 counties will receive $41.7 million this year under the four-decade-old program that provides federal payments to jurisdictions with nontaxable public lands within their borders.

The Payments in Lieu of Taxes program began in 1977. This year it will compensate more than 1,900 local governments with a total of $514.7 million for national parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas that do not generate  property tax revenue. The payments are based on acreage and population within a county. Money for PILT comes from the $13.2 billion in revenue from commercial activities on public lands, which includes extraction, grazing and timber harvesting. Localities are also recipients of federal revenue sharing through a variety of other grazing, mineral leasing and power siting programs.

“This year Colorado will receive more than $41 million in critical funding to support essential services like search and rescue missions, emergency medical services, law enforcement, school maintenance and upkeep, and infrastructure improvements in rural areas,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

Gunnison and Moffat counties each have more than 1.6 million acres of federal land. However, the largest payments will go to Garfield County and Mesa County. Each will receive in excess of $3 million. In the Denver metro area, Arapahoe County will receive $1,843, Jefferson County will receive $159,473 and Douglas County will receive $337,867.

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