Colorado Will Give Residents Option to Buy State Parks Pass When Registering Their Vehicles

by Victoria Santiago
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Starting next year, Colorado will automatically include an annual state parks pass when residents register their cars. Those that aren’t interested in the annual pass can opt out of it. Otherwise, there will be an automatic $29 fee tacked onto registration costs at the DMV.

This automatic pass won’t be added until 2023. Senate Bill 21-249 has stated that the pass and DMV fee must be put into action no earlier than Jan. 1, 2023 and no later than Jan. 1, 2024.

The pass, called the Keep Colorado Wild Pass (KCW), will automatically apply when a person registers a passenger vehicle, light truck, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle through the DMV.

This Colorado State Parks Pass Is Cheaper Than A Normal Pass

For some, another $29 added to their DMV fees might seem like a lot. However, this price point, which was decided by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission (CPW), is actually less than half the price of a current annual pass. To get a regular state park pass in CO, outdoor enthusiasts must pay $84.

This KCW pass gives people access to all 43 parks located throughout the state. Not only does it save people money on a normal annual pass, but it also increases funding for the state’s natural resources. Funds from the KCW pass will go to park maintenance, search and rescue programs, avalanche awareness, wildlife conservation, and education and equity programs.

“Whether you plan to visit our state parks or not, your purchase of the Keep Colorado Wild Pass is a generous and simple way to show you care about our outdoors, wildlife, lands and waters that make up the heartbeat of Colorado – and support those that manage it,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow.

The KCW Pass Does Not Include Access To National Parks

However, the KCW pass will not include access to national parks that are in Colorado. National parks in the state include Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Still, though, there are numerous state parks to choose from. The state parks system spreads out across the entire state and includes plains and mountains. There’s a park in CO for every kind of outdoor enthusiast. That being said, CPW notes that this automatic pass will most likely increase visitation to the parks. It will also increase operating costs.

Officials think that the pass is worth it, though. “The pass is the single most impactful thing we can do as a state to protect our public lands,” said Senate President Steve Fenberg.

According to 9 News, state park fees in CO generated $22 million in 2020. That includes the sale of daily and annual passes. The KCW pass only needs 15% of residents to get the pass to generate the same amount of money.

Outsider.com