TRINIDAD, Colo. — Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officially opened the first trailhead at Colorado's newest state park, Fishers Peak State Park.
The park is situated around Fishers Peak and Crazy French Ranch near Trinidad in southern Colorado. It's the 42nd state park and also the second largest at 19,200 acres, though initial public access is only to 250 acres of the property, which includes three trails and a public picnic area.
“I’m thrilled to open Fishers Peak State Park. Together, our administration and the local community are enhancing and protecting the Colorado way of life by ensuring future generations will be able to explore and experience our natural wonders,” said Governor Polis. “Outdoor recreation is an economic engine for Colorado and this park will help create good-paying rural jobs, protect our environment, preserve wildlife habitat, improve access to the outdoors and provide educational opportunities for children.”
Watch the announcement below:
The opening comes earlier than expected. Gov. Polis initially anticipated Fishers Peak State Park would open in January 2021. The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Lands in collaboration with the City of Trinidad, Great Outdoors Colorado and CPW purchased the property in February 2019. It was transferred into state ownership in April 2020.
Friday's partial opening is part of a multi-year process of providing full access to the property. CPW will continue working with local community and other stakeholders on a master plan that will guide park development, including future amenities like camping opportunities and a trail to Fishers Peak, the highest peak in the U.S. east of I-25.
CDOT will also be modernizing exit 11 on I-25 to ensure safe travel to access the park, according to CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.
Throughout the pandemic, CPW has seen record crowds at its parks and heightened demand for hunting and fishing. They hope opening part of the property will allow visitors to experience a taste of what Fishers Peak State Park will have to offer in the future
“We see this as an opportunity to educate future stewards of the land,” CPW Director Dan Prenzlow said. “Each generation deserves the chance to learn the importance of the natural resources all around us. We hope Fishers Peak State Park will create a new group of conservationists—botanists, biologists, hunters, wildlife watchers—all of the outdoor enthusiasts that will help ensure we can share these resources for generations to come.”
The State wants to build a park that serves Coloradans' recreation needs and the public can participate in the planning process moving forward through surveys and public meetings.
Gov. Polis also announced and signed an Executive Order establishing the Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative. This effort will chart a long-term, equitable and sustainable vision for the future of Colorado’s outdoors and outdoor recreation, as we face increasing strains on our lands, wildlife and infrastructure from a growing population and a changing climate. It will also provide for better local collaboration and leadership in creating and implementing this important state-wide vision for our outdoors.