3:49pm

Tue March 8, 2011
Budget

Governor Wants to Consolidate Departments to Save Money, Parks

Governor John Hickenlooper wants to consolidate the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation into a new division. He says doing so will more than just streamline government within the Department of Natural Resources.

“We believe it will also improve service to customers and be able to preserve critical programs that would otherwise be endangered by combing the resources of the two agencies,” Hickenlooper said.

That includes the possible closure of 15 of Colorado’s 41 state parks as a way of cutting the state budget. It may also prevent the repurposing of 4 parks into state wildlife areas.

“Now that we’re proposing to put them all under one tent, I think it makes sense to step back a little bit and say – does that make sense or can they remain state parks under this new structure,” says Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Mike King.

While exact cost savings have not been identified, King says early estimates show the new division would save the state money by eliminating 25 positions through attrition and reduce the duplication of services. The new Division of Parks, Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation still needs legislative approval.