Across the West during the past several years, beleaguered state park systems in Utah, Arizona, California and elsewhere have made news as state governments have slashed budgets and threatened to permanently shutter some of their parks.
But Colorado’s state parks have taken a different path.
Since the state parks became part of the newly-created Colorado Parks and Wildlife in 2011, three of four state parks slated for closure prior to the merger have remained open and there are no plans to shut them down. The fourth park, Bonny Lake near Burlington, became a state wildlife area and remains open to the public.
Despite losing more than $27 million in revenue during the previous year, including some federal money the state receives for managing federally-owned reservoirs, Colorado’s state park system closed out its 2012 fiscal year with a $4.2 million budget surplus, according to a CPW financial report released this week.
Bonny Lake is being managed as a State Wildlife Area and remains open to the public. The Visitor Center and Camper Service buildings are closed and water and electric are not available.
Currently Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working with the United States Bureau of Reclamation, Yuma County Commissioners, the Three Rivers Alliance, Yuma County Economic Development Council and other community groups to determine the future of the former State Park. The discussions include facilities and campgrounds that were previously managed by Colorado State Parks. At present, Bonny Lake is being managed as part of the South Republican State Wildlife Area, a 13,000 acre management unit that offers deer, turkey, waterfowl and small game hunting.
Please check back for updates on any changes for the future management of Bonny Lake State Park or call the Southeast Regional Office in Colorado Springs at 719-227-5200.