The Colorado Parks and Wildlife-led planning process has been approved by the Parks and Wildlife Commission, which is the sole body responsible for creating and approving the plan as directed by the statute.
Beginning in April 2021, CPW contracted with Keystone Policy Center to conduct the public involvement and engagement effort. CPW worked with Keystone Policy Center to hold 47 public meetings in July and August of 2021, collecting feedback from more than 3,400 Coloradans. Public feedback has also been collected via an online public comment form from the start of the planning process and feedback continues to be submitted and monitored.
Additionally, CPW appointed two advisory bodies: a Technical Working Group (TWG) which contributes scientific expertise and professional experience towards the development of restoration logistics, conservation objectives, management strategies, damage prevention and compensation planning from some of the foremost wolf experts from across the nation; and a Stakeholder Advisory Group comprised of community members with perspectives and expertise that cover an important and varied representation of the public in Colorado. Meeting notes from each of these advisory committees are available on the wolfengagementco.org website.
The TWG and the SAG are working diligently to craft recommendations that CPW staff will use to create and present a draft plan to the CPW Commission in December 2022. The recommendations developed by both the TWG and the SAG are not final decisions – they serve as recommendations to CPW staff. This Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan will outline the agency’s proposed path forward in restoring a self-sustaining population of gray wolves.
The SAG has a number of wolf proponents, sportspersons, scientists, ranchers, outfitters and many other stakeholders who provide valuable and meaningful input to the agency’s planning process. A full list of SAG members can be found on the CPW website. The SAG was conscientiously convened to represent the wide variety of perspectives that people in the state have on wolves. All members of the group have been integral to the ongoing planning process. This group is not skewed to prefer any particular perspective on wolves, but rather to honor the will of the voters with regard to Proposition 114 and successfully implement the law.
The reintroduction of a species is a massive undertaking and requires scientific knowledge, partner expertise, public outreach, stakeholder input, and the evaluation of policies and regulations, to name a few.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been very deliberate and intentional in its approach to wolf restoration planning and ensured a diversity of expertise, experience and thought has been imparted into this effort from the beginning of its process.
To create a thorough and well-informed restoration plan, CPW needs to develop critical program recommendations for restoration logistics, depredation compensation, non-lethal deterrent options and management practices so that those who will live most closely to the wolves on a regular basis feel supported and have clear pathways to claim damages or expand their options that also support the establishment of a self-sustaining wolf population in Colorado. Having these programs well outlined will allow the agency to focus on the final phase of bringing all of the information and input from the TWG and SAG into a full plan for the Parks and Wildlife Commission’s consideration as required by state law.
Written by Travis Duncan. Travis is a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Denver. He has lived in Colorado for nearly 20 years and loves the outdoors.