With 42 state parks and more than a third of the state under federal direction by the Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service, and National Park Service, Colorado is a leader in a charge that many environmentalists note is a necessary global step in conservation: protecting 30 percent of the world from development by 2030 and, eventually, 50 percent by 2050.
Now, Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants you to help protect even more of the state. The agency, which is responsible for managing state parks, is seeking public input to create the next state park in Colorado. It has set up an online portal through which the public can nominate areas for state park consideration. If you know of a beautiful but unprotected natural spot in the Centennial State, the CPW wants to hear about it. State park status would ensure that wildlife and natural resources in the area receive proper maintenance and protection and that residents and visitors can responsibly recreate on the land. No set deadline for nominations has been announced, though the agency did release this “story map” to help you determine whether or not an area might qualify.
Just don’t make casual suggestions. To be seriously considered, the area must meet specific requirements including providing “outstanding nature-based recreation,” meeting a need to conserve natural resources, and being able to financially sustain itself within the state parks system. This means it must be accessible to all (not just hardcore mountain bikers or rock climbers) and should offer a leg up to parts of the state in need of additional outdoor recreation opportunities. Our guess for the next state park location? Northwestern Colorado, which is home to beautiful peaks and expansive views but lacks a regional state park.