The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved price increases across the board last week. This is the first hunting and fishing cost increase since 2005 and the first camping fee increase since 2015, spokeswoman Rebecca Ferrell said.
The changes come after the Colorado legislature passed a bill allowing the commission to approve fee increases. The new law also caps daily park entrance fee increases by $1 and annual park pass increases by $10.
The increases will help Colorado Parks and Wildlife with cost-of-living increases, overcrowding management, keeping parks fully staffed and making sure toilet paper is properly stocked, among other things, Ferrell said.
She said these fee increases are like “ripping off the Band-Aid.” Going forward, price increases will be smaller and likely tied to inflation.
The fee changes go into effect on Jan. 1. From a new annual parks pass and youth fishing license to the removal of campsite reservation fees, here’s a breakdown of everything that’s changing:
State park passes:
- CPW will start a pilot program that allows people to buy a new $120 annual pass. Unlike the existing annual pass, which is affixed to a car’s windshield, this new one hangs from a car’s rearview mirror. This means it can easily be transferred between cars. The hanging pass will be available on the CPW website starting Jan. 1.
- The traditional annual passes, which are affixed to a car’s windshield, will increase to $80 from $70.
- A secondary affixed pass will cost $40, up from $35.
- The Aspen Leaf annual pass for seniors (65+) will increase to $70 from $60.
- A daily vehicle pass will increase by $1 to $8 for most parks and $9 for Cherry Creek, Chatfield, Boyd Lake and Eldorado Canyon state parks.
- Individual daily passes (for people who are not in cars) will increase to $4 and will now apply to 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.
- Daily off-leash dog passes will increase to $3. An annual off-leash pass will increase to $25.
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Camping permit changes:
- The $10 reservation fee has been eliminated.
- Campsites will increase by a minimum of $4 a night (at most $13). Prices vary depending on the park, campsite and time of year. Basic sites with just a place for your tent will go to $14 to $18, up from $10 to $12. Full hook-up campsites with water and electrical will cost between $32 and $41, up from $28 to $30. (Each park manager has the ability to set their own fees, so check individual park websites for specific site prices.)
- Picnic areas will increase between $20 and $60. Basic group picnic areas with little shelter and a few tables will go to $50 from $30. Large areas with overhead shelter and room for 80 people will go to $150 from $90.
- Cabin and yurts will increase by $10, ranging from $90 to $250 per night depending on the park and size.
Hunting/fishing license changes:
- CPW created a youth fishing license for 16- and 17-year-olds that costs $8. Previously, those ages were included in the adult license. Kids 15 years and younger are free.
- Seniors (65+) used to be able to fish for free but now must buy an $8 license.
- Adult fishing licenses are going up to $33 from $25.
- Most resident hunting license fees will go up by $8.
- Big game licenses, which previously ranged from $30 at the cheapest (for mule, pronghorn and whitetail deer) to $250 at the most expensive (for sheep, moose and goats), will now range from $38 to $300.
- Preference points fees for sheep, moose and goat applications will cost $50 for residents and $100 for nonresidents.
- The application fee for the limited license drawing will increase to $7 for residents and $9 for nonresidents.
- The wildlife education fee, which is on most wildlife licenses, will increase from 75 cents to $1.50.
- The Colorado State Waterfowl Stamp fee will increase to $10 from $5. (The federal stamp is $25.)
- Nonresident bear licenses for all seasons will be reduced to $100, down from $351 in 2018.