Colorado State Trust Lands
Frequently Asked Questions

West Spanish Peak in the fall
What are State Trust Lands?

State Trust Lands were given to the State of Colorado by the Federal Government to be held in trust to generate revenue for State schools and education. There are approximately 3.2 million surface acres of Trust Lands in Colorado. State Trust Lands are not open "Public" lands in the true sense such as US Forest Service lands are. In past years, Trust Lands have been administered by the State Board of Land Commissioners with exclusive access privileges being delegated to the lessee of a particular parcel of land.

What currently allows fishermen and hunters to access Trust land?

In 1993, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Colorado State Land Board entered into a Memorandum of Agreement that allowed the DOW to lease Trust Land access for public, wildlife-related recreation. The DOW pays the State Land Board $1 per acre of sportsman's money (your money) for this access privilege.

How much Trust land is available and where can I look for it?

As of 1996, the DOW has leased approximately 371,000 acres from the SLB for access to hunting, fishing and some watchable wildlife opportunities. There are almost 200 separate parcels of Trust Land that are now open to the public scattered throughout Colorado.

What type of hunting can I expect to find on Trust lands?

As of 1996, nearly 240,000 acres of Trust Land offered big game hunting opportunities with 230,000 acres for small game hunting, 7,600 acres of waterfowl hunting, 2,100 acres of warm and cold water lake and 40 miles of coldwater stream fishing and nearly 148,000 acres of wildlife watching opportunity.

What can I expect to find when I arrive at a leased Trust Land parcel?

All Trust Lands leased by the DOW are marked at the entrance with a large property name sign and a special regulations sign. The boundary is marked with smaller signs delineating the area. Some properties have designated parking or camping areas. You may also encounter a uniformed volunteer "Host" who is there to help insure that your visit to the property is an enjoyable one. The Host will answer your questions, provide maps, brochures, hunting information and may ask you a few questions designed to improve future management of the property and program.

How much Trust land will ultimately be opened to sportsmen and how long will they be available?

Currently, the DOW has planned to fund the enrollment of up to 500,000 acres with plans to increase to as much as 800,000 acres. Each of the Trust Land leases are for up to 10 years. Open access to these properties is indeed a privilege and will last only as long as good stewardship by the sportsmen of Colorado occurs on them. Please respect your privilege to hunt and fish on State Trust Lands!

Why does the DOW consider this an important program?

For many years, hunters and fishermen (license buyers) have been telling the DOW that access to lands to hunt and fish on are becoming more limited and harder to find. The DOW has taken this comment seriously and has made "access" a high priority.

Is this a good investment of my license dollars?

Simply put, Yes! When the program began in 1993, Wildlife Managers from around the state were asked to "nominate" Trust Lands in their areas that had valuable wildlife related recreation opportunities for enrollment in the State Trust Lands Access Program. Of the 3.2 million acres of Trust Lands available, approximately 800,000 acres were nominated. Nearly all Trust Lands have historically had restricted or no access for public hunting and fishing. Trust Lands can offer access to a quality experience that has been closed since Statehood.

Why has it taken over 100 years to accomplish this?

The historical mission of the Colorado State Land Board (as established in the Colorado Constitution) has been to "maximize revenue" for the benefit of education and the school kids of Colorado. The effort to accomplish this mandate has been focused around such things as agricultural production, mining, oil and gas leases and land transactions, all of which generated a maximum of revenue. In 1992, however, the State Land Board began to recognize the increase in demand for multiple use on Trust lands. In 1992, the State Board of Land Commissioners adopted a "Multiple Use Policy" for recreational use of State Trust Lands. This action then enabled the DOW and the SLB to enter into the cooperative program we have today.

How can I find out more about State Trust Lands?

To begin with, the DOW produces a publication: "Supplement to the Colorado Wildlife Property Directory, State Trust Lands," free of charge. This brochure outlines all available Trust Land properties that are available statewide. It also lists the general and property-specific regulations that pertain to Trust Lands enrolled in the access program. Secondly, the DOW produces a quality, detailed topographic map of each property which includes directions to the property and the same restrictions listed in the brochure. These maps can be obtained, for a small fee, at any DOW office or by mail order with a form found in the brochure mentioned above. Lastly, you can call the DOW for more information at your local area office or in Denver at 303-291-7266 or by calling the State Land Board at 303-866-3454.

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