Keep Colorado Wild Annual Pass
The act creates the keep Colorado wild pass (wild pass) for entry into state parks and other participating public lands. Commencing no earlier than January 1, 2023, but no later than January 1, 2024, each resident with one of the following motor vehicles that is not a commercial vehicle is assessed a fee for the wild pass (wild pass fee) when registering the motor vehicle:
- A passenger motor vehicle;
- A light-weight truck with an empty vehicle weight of less than or equal to 16,000 pounds;
- A motorcycle; or
- A recreational vehicle.
A resident may decline to pay the wild pass fee when registering the resident's motor vehicle, and nonpayment of the wild pass fee does not affect the resident's ability to register the motor vehicle. A resident who declines or fails to pay the wild pass fee is presumed to decline to pay the wild pass fee in subsequent years with respect to registration of the same motor vehicle, and the division of parks and wildlife in the department of natural resources (division) is required to develop an opt-in provision on subsequent registration notifications sent to the resident for that motor vehicle.
The parks and wildlife commission in the department of natural resources (commission) is required to adopt rules to set the wild pass fee and, for income-eligible households, a reduced wild pass fee and may establish a process for applying existing discounts or free entry to persons eligible for the discount or free entry to the wild pass. The commission may also adopt rules establishing a separate fee for a pass, including a separate fee for passes for nonresidents, residents who decline to pay the wild pass fee when registering the resident's motor vehicle, and residents who do not possess one of the motor vehicles listed above.
For each state fiscal year, the division will use the wild pass fees collected to achieve stated goals such as providing affordable access to state parks and public lands; managing state parks; supporting search and rescue and avalanche safety efforts; conserving vulnerable species and habitats; funding equity, diversity, and inclusion programs; and financing regional outdoor partnerships for community-driven planning and projects.
The division is required to:
- Develop language to notify motor vehicle registrants of their option to decline to pay the wild pass fee, which notice must be conspicuously placed on registration documents and on the division's and the division of motor vehicles' websites; and
- Implement a public outreach campaign, including outreach to and engagement of disproportionately impacted communities, to educate the public about the availability of the wild pass through the motor vehicle registration process and about access to state parks and public lands that the wild pass will provide.
The division is required to prepare annual reports on, and on or before March 1, 2025, and on or before March 1, 2030, to make presentations to a joint session of the legislative committees with jurisdiction over agriculture matters regarding, the number of wild passes sold in the previous 12 months, an accounting of the expenditures made with the increased revenue generated from sales of the wild pass, and a summary of the effect that those increased expenditures have had on the achievement of the stated goals.
The act also repeals limitations on the amount that the commission may increase fees for daily and annual park passes purchased by individuals who do not purchase the discounted wild pass, authorizes the division to enter into cooperative agreements with other land management agencies, and requires the division to develop a program for seeking, accepting, and expending gifts, grants, or donations.
For state fiscal year 2021-22, the act appropriates $504,646 from the parks and outdoor recreation cash fund to the division for implementation of the wild pass and reappropriates $108,200 of that money to the department of revenue for use by the division of motor vehicles for maintenance and support of the Colorado driver's license, record, identification, and vehicle enterprise solution (Colorado DRIVES).
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)