By Jason Blevins The Colorado Sun
A coalition of animal advocacy groups has sued Colorado Parks and Wildlife over new rules at State Wildlife Areas that restrict recreation by visitors who are not hunting or fishing.
The lawsuit argues new regulations adopted in August by Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioners for the 350 State Wildlife Areas offer preferential treatment for hunters and anglers. For example, the new rules prohibit bikes but allow carts for hunters hauling wildlife. The new rules do not allow dogs, except for hunting dogs. Boaters cannot paddle kayaks, paddle boards or rafts unless they are fishing or hunting. The new regulations prohibit motorized travel in most locations but allow hunters to use ATVs and snowmobiles in select State Wildlife Areas. Horseback riders cannot access several State Wildlife Areas unless they are hunting.
“These numerous exceptions for hunting and fishing to otherwise prohibited activities is arbitrary and capricious and conflicts with the ‘multiple-use’ concept of management,” reads the lawsuit filed earlier this month in Denver District Court by Friends of Animals. “CPW has no evidence that the wildlife-related recreational activities that the regulations restrict or ban have a different impact on SWAs than the same activities done by people who are hunting or fishing, which the regulations make exceptions for.”