Rep. Perry Will: Protecting our great Colorado outdoors
Before I represented you in the General Assembly, I served for over 40 years as a game warden for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Services, protecting your family, your land, and the best of Colorado’s open spaces. And I thoroughly enjoyed keeping the west wild, but not too wild.
As a game warden, I see the complexity around the issues rural Coloradans are facing; I know the value of protecting private property and the livelihoods of local ranchers and I know the value of protecting our game and Colorado’s parks and open spaces. I brought all of that knowledge and experience with me to the Capitol and use the perspective I gained from my service and as a native Coloradan when making decisions about legislation.
This legislative session, I’ve had the honor of sponsoring legislation that improves one of our best programs. The Habitat Partnership Program was created in 1990 as a way for Colorado Parks and Wildlife to address the concerns of landowners regarding the impact of local deer and elk herds on their private property. This program has been successfully working with both private landowners and Colorado Parks and Wildlife reducing wildlife conflicts, ensuring that private landowners are represented and that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division meets its population management goals.
The Habitat Partnership Program works through local committees to solve local problems. It’s an incredible program and as because of my experience working for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Services, I know the value of this program. I watched the program grow and develop from its origins and watched the program solve hundreds of conflicts over the years, ensuring that the interests of both landowners and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Services are protected and achieved.
Last week, the Colorado House of Representatives passed my bill, HB22-1072, the Habitat Partnership Program Act. This legislation expands the program to assist the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division with private land conservation and wildlife migration corridor efforts, prioritizes conflicts arising from big game ungulate species, authorizes annual budgets for local committees, requires the director to set terms for committee members, and improves the Habitat Partnership Cash Fund, allowing extra funds to be transferred to the Wildlife Cash Fund at the end of the fiscal year. These changes will have long last effects on the Program and ensure that it continues to do the good work it has been doing.
It is my particular joy to sponsor and vote for legislation that protects the interests of rural Colorado and legislation that defends Colorado’s outdoors and the rights of private property.
As long as I represent you in the General Assembly, I will be focused on legislation that defends Colorado’s outdoors, the rights of private property, and keeps the government out of your business whenever is reasonably possible.
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As the school year comes to an end, the Hayden and South Routt School Districts have accomplished many milestones through their RISE grant efforts.