Each year, $1.2 billion is brought into Colorado’s economy through our state parks. This is only a portion of the billions that outdoor recreation brings in annually and has been shown to still be a growing industry for the state.
According to some lawmakers, it is important to invest in this momentum to keep things rolling and on January 23 introduced the “I Love Colorado State Parks Act” which would provide $10 million to state parks. Of that, $4 million would go towards getting the new state park here surrounding Fishers Peak in Trinidad up and running by next year.
“It’s important, it would be amazing to have Fishers Peak come to fruition and we’re going to do all we can to make that happen,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia in an interview with KOAA News 5.
Senator Dennis Hisey, currently the only Republican to sign the bill so far, expressed he was confident that he could convince several fellow legislators to be in support of this new act.
“I will do my best to convince my colleagues, if we own it we need to maintain it,” said Hisey to News 5.
With close to 15 million visitors a year at Colorado’s state parks, Representative Daneya Esgar, who serves as Chair of the Joint Budget Committee, said investing back into Colorado state parks was vital to ensure continued success.
“We’re hearing from a lot of state parks that they’re having capacity issues,” said Esgar. “Lake Pueblo had a capacity issue as more people are discovering the beauty of our state parks which is a good thing,”
Though Esgar is in support of the act, she also expressed that there were other factors to keep in mind as it moves through legislation.
“Everybody wants us to fund everything,” Esgar said, “and I think if we had the capacity to do so, we would, we have to decide if we’re going to invest in improving health care, if we’re going to invest in education, transportation and of course we have to invest in all of that, so it’s a matter of after that what do we have left what are the other priorities in Colorado,”
As more information regarding the I Love Colorado State Parks Act develops, The Chronicle-News will release updates accordingly.