At its December meeting (12/8-9) the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission settled on its final recommendations on Legislative Declaration, Agency Mission and Commission Composition:
Recommended Legislative Declaration —
The Commission recommends that the statute include the following legislative declaration:
It is the policy of the state of Colorado that the wildlife, natural, scenic, and scientific resources of this state are to be protected, preserved, enhanced, and managed for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the people of this state and its visitors. It is further declared to be the policy of this state that there shall be provided a comprehensive program designed to offer the greatest possible variety of recreational opportunity to the people of this state and its visitors and that, to carry out such program and policy, there shall be a continuous operation of planning, acquisition, development and management of wildlife habitats, state parks, outdoor recreation lands, trails, waters, and facilities, and that both education and outreach activities will be designed to promote natural resource stewardship.
The Commission recommends the following mission statement be adopted to guide the agency in its future operations:
The mission of the Division of Parks and Wildlife is to perpetuate the wildlife resources of the state, to provide a quality state park system, and to provide enjoyable and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities that educate and inspire current and future generations to serve as active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources.
The Commission recommends that the statute include a preamble stating that the Parks and Wildlife Commission is established to serve the citizens of Colorado and articulating desired characteristics that a Governor should consider in selecting members, such as areas of particular knowledge and expertise (e.g. business, science), areas of experience (e.g. service on other boards and or commissions, public-sector management), demonstrated leadership, or frequent use of resources managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Such characteristics would help ensure that the Commission has the ability to respond to the changing needs of the agency.
The Commission recommends that the statute set out a Commission with 11 voting members and 2 ex-officio members, comprised of the following members. This composition is consistent with recommendations CWF made to the Commission in September. The next step is for Rep. Sonnenberg and Sen. Schwartz to introduce legislation. WE are hopeful that the legislation reflects the Commission’s recommendation:
— 2 voting members who are agricultural landowners or producers:
—– 1 member with experience in livestock production.
—– 1 member with experience in crop production.
— 2 voting members who are sportsmen or sportswomen who have purchased or applied for a hunting or fishing license for each of the previous three years or who can demonstrate reasonable knowledge of wildlife issues, wildlife habitat, and wildlife management, and/or the Commission’s duties, procedures, policies, authority, and past decisions.
— 2 voting members with experience in outdoor recreation who can demonstrate reasonable knowledge of parks and outdoor recreation resources and management, and/or the Commission’s duties, procedures, policies, authority, and past decisions.
–1 voting member who is a county commissioner.
–1 voting member whois a member of a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes the conservation and enhancement of Colorado’s wildlife and its habitat, that recognizes and promotes primarily non-consumptive wildlife use, and that has expertise in wildlife issues, wildlife habitat, or wildlife management.
–3 voting at-large members.
–2 non-voting, ex officio members:
—–Executive Director, Dept. of Natural Resources
—–Commissioner, Dept. of Agriculture
The statute should provide that at least one Commissioner (but no more than 3) must be from each of the five districts set out for the former Wildlife Commission (see 33-9-101(1)(c)), and that no more than six of the members may be from the same political party. Both of these provisions would include at-large members, but not ex-officio members.