GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – After more than two years of extensive statewide stakeholder meetings and outreach via a series of public hearings, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on Wednesday gave final approval to the final Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan.
The plan was unanimously adopted through a two-step approval process that began at a CPW Commission meeting last month in Steamboat Springs.
The final approval clears the way for CPW biologists to introduce wolves in the Western Slope area and meet the voter-approved deadline of reintroduction by December 31, 2023.
“Within just 2-and-a-half years, and after robust stakeholder engagement, the Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved a responsible plan to implement the will of the voters and reintroduce gray wolves back to their historic range in Colorado,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “This plan is better because of the thousands of Coloradans who provided thoughtful input, and I thank the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for their comprehensive work to develop this thoughtful plan. This science-based plan is the result of months of planning, convening stakeholder and expert working groups, and offering live and public comment opportunities, while factoring in the biological needs of the species, and creating the best possible chance for these amazing animals to be successfully restored to our state.”
”I thank the Commission, the team at CPW, the many experts, Coloradans, and stakeholders who dedicated so many hours of their time, and especially the passionate public that has remained invested from start to finish, sharing their ideas and helping to shape this plan to prepare for enacting the will of Colorado’s voters,” the Governor concluded.
After the Draft Wolf Restoration and Management Plan was released Dec. 9, CPW’s extensive public outreach efforts through in-person and virtual meetings, as well as on its website engagecpw.org, produced about 4,000 comments online and via in-person testimony from 232 people at its five public meetings across Colorado in January and February.
“The Wolf Restoration and Management Plan is a huge accomplishment for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the citizens of Colorado. In line with the will of Coloradans, we are on track to re-establish and restore wolves in Colorado by December 31, 2023,” said Dan Gibbs, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “This would not have been possible without the tireless work of CPW staff and the Parks and Wildlife Commission, the members of both our advisory boards and the citizens and stakeholders who engaged and weighed in to make our wolf management plan the best for Coloradans and for wolves who will once again grace our Colorado landscapes.”
“We are so grateful to our advisory groups for providing their expertise to this plan and for those who came to public meetings and commented on the draft plan,” said CPW Director Jeff Davis. “As wolf reintroduction begins in Colorado, the input we received on this plan from a wide variety of stakeholders will help ensure a successful program in the years to come.”
“The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission was assigned the responsibility to develop a plan to restore and manage gray wolves in Colorado. The Commission is to be commended for its tireless, thoughtful and important work over the past two years in addition to its other statutory obligations,” said CPW Commission Chair Carrie Besnette Hauser. “The dedication by this group of volunteers to travel across the state to listen and learn from the public and key advisory groups shows a spirit of collaboration and compromise on an issue with many viewpoints. Throughout the process, the Commission also relied on talented experts and scientists, and remained cognizant of the impacts the plan and wolf reintroduction will have on Colorado’s Western Slope where reintroduction will occur.”
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