Jared Polis in Trinidad

Standing at the foot of Trinidad’s landmark peak, Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced that Fisher’s Peak would become Colorado’s next state park on Thursday, Sept. 12.

When people ask Coloradans why we love living here, we tend to think of our state’s beautiful mountains, valleys, forests, plains, rivers, streams, and all the natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities that we enjoy. Having access to our majestic public lands right here in our backyard makes every weekend feel like we’re on vacation here in Colorado.

Each area has its own defining landscape and landmarks, from Boulder’s majestic Flatirons, to Pikes Peak towering above Colorado Springs, and from Grand Junction’s mighty Colorado National Monument to Estes Park’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

And soon, the residents of Trinidad will be able to access their own defining landmark: the awe-inspiring Fishers Peak.

Earlier this month, I was delighted to sign an Executive Order to establish Colorado’s 42nd state park around the flat top mountain known as Fishers Peak. For decades, the 9,633-foot peak — the highest point east of I-25 — has not been accessible to the people of Trinidad. Right now, the only way to reach the peak is via a difficult hike from Sugarite State Park in New Mexico.

But thanks to a collaborative effort between Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the City of Trinidad, Great Outdoors Colorado, The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land -- all groups dedicated to the preservation and protection of public lands -- we will soon be able to make Fishers Peak accessible to everyone.

With more than 55 square miles of newly accessible land -- portions of which are set to be open to the public starting in 2021 -- Coloradans and visitors will now have yet another place to hike, bike, camp, hunt, climb, or just admire Colorado’s natural beauty and wildlife. The new state park will link grasslands to the east with foothills and mountains to the west, which will also provide a corridor for the movement of wildlife including elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain lions, black bears, and other creatures that call our state home.

Perhaps most importantly, this new state park along with Trinidad Lake State Park will support southern Colorado as an outdoor recreation destination, helping local businesses — restaurants, hotels, retailers, and other important pieces of our economy in Trinidad and Las Animas County. It will grow the outdoor recreation sector of our economy, which generates billions of dollars in economic activity every year and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs in our state. When I took the oath of office, I pledged to create a “Colorado for All” where everyone can succeed, no matter where in the state you live. Fishers Peak State Park will help create and support good jobs in Trinidad and southern Colorado.

Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Our natural scenery and our world-class outdoor recreation opportunities bring pride to Coloradans and attract millions of visitors every year. As public officials, it’s our duty to do our part and preserve these public lands so they can be enjoyed by future generations and ourselves. I am thrilled that Colorado will soon be welcoming our 42nd state park right here in majestic Southern Colorado.

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