April 08, 2011

A Power Grab that Hurts Colorado's Wildlife Agency

A proposal in the Colorado Legislature would merge the Division of Wildlife (DOW) and the Division of Parks (both in the same department), going back to the way it was forty or fifty years ago (1963-1972).

The supposed motive is cost-savings, but that makes no sense when you realize that the Div. of Wildlife gets its money from license sales and Colorado's share of federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear.

The division receives no money from the state general fund. State parks get a little, but that is a much smaller agency.

Former DOW  director John Mumma explains the funding here.

So what is really going on "under the dome"?

Some people are concerned that the traditional parks activity will get the short end of the stick.

But Todd Malmsbury at the Colorado Wildlife Federation sees the real motive this way:

This is, pure and simple, the latest effort--from the usual suspects--to bring the DOW to heel, to get even with the DOW for its independence and willingness to stand up for wildlife amid the rush to privatize hunting and fishing and open prime wildlife habitat to any and all energy development and urban growth.

After all, if it's not about saving money, then it's about power.

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