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Colorado looks to balance recreation with conservation

A new report led by Colorado Parks and Wildlife looks at the future of recreation in Colorado.

DENVER — Coloradans know there's such a thing as loving something to death. Just think of the exploding popularity of Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon over recent years.

So, how do we balance recreation and conservation? That’s a key question addressed in the latest Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan - or SCORP. 

The plan is put together every five years and is required for Colorado to receive federal money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since 1965, Colorado received $61 million through the fund to pay for more than 1,000 recreation projects. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife leads the effort to put together the SCORP and spent more than a year compiling the latest edition. This year, the report considered the key role conservation plays in the future of Colorado’s outdoors.

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"It’s not a secret that Colorado is growing and booming in population," said wildlife spokesperson Rebecca Ferrell.

Ferrell spoke to 9NEWS about the latest SCORP from Chatfield State Park Sunday morning. Ferrell said Colorado’s 41 state parks saw 15 million visitors in 2018.

"Everything that we do outside, whether we’re hunting and fishing, whether we’re hiking and biking, taking the boat out, even our dog off-leash area here at Chatfield [State Park], we have an impact on our environment and on our resources," Ferrell said. "We really wanted to make sure that the key focuses of this plan emphasize conservation as much as they did outdoor recreation."

The 2019 SCORP lays out four key priorities for the state including sustainable access and opportunity, stewardship, land, water and wildlife conservation and funding the future. You can read the full report here.

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