Colorado Parks and Wildlife Celebrates 125 Years of Conservation in Colorado

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2022 by telling the agency’s long history of wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation in a series of stories, videos, podcasts and community events over the coming 12 months.

The series will start in January with a look at the founding of CPW’s ancestor agency – the Department of Forestry, Game and Fish – in 1897 including the work leading up to it before Colorado was even a state into the modern era.

“This 125th anniversary is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s mission of perpetuating the wildlife resources of the state and providing quality parks,” CPW Director Dan Prenzlow said. “Through a year of celebrating our past, present and future, we’ll show our dedication to educating and inspiring future generations to become stewards of our natural resources.”

The past
Using Colorado Outdoors Onlinethe CPW website, social media channels and traditional outlets, CPW will publish a series of stories describing the history of the past 125 years of state park and wildlife conservation in Colorado. We’ll highlight stories such as:

  • CPW’s terrestrial and aquatic biologists and researchers whose groundbreaking work has led the fight against chronic wasting disease in moose, elk and deer, combatted whirling disease in fish, expanded our understanding of the genetics of various species and helped the agency become a leader in balancing the carrying capacity of habitat with the various wildlife species competing on the landscape.
  • CPW’s dedicated staff has helped restore the endangered black-footed ferret, bald eagles, lynx, Peregrine falcons, the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, greenback cutthroat trout, boreal toads, Gunnison’s sage grouse, moose, Rio Grande and Colorado river cutthroat trout, and many other critical fish and wildlife species.
  • A profile of Annie Metcalf, Colorado’s first woman game warden. She was appointed a deputy game warden in 1898 in Routt County. She wasn’t afraid of mountain lions but she dreaded cows!
  • The story of her modern successors, starting with Susan Smith, the first woman appointed a District Wildlife Manager in Vail in February 1975.
  • The evolution of roadside parks and state recreation areas into our first state park, Lathrop near Walsenburg, on June 9, 1961, and our current roster of 43 state parks that offer world class outdoor recreation.

The present
CPW will be hosting events and receptions at state parks and offices around Colorado this year. Sign up for CPW’s eNewsletters and keep your eye on your inbox for events near you.

The future
CPW will soon be opening our 43rd state park at Sweetwater Lake, crafting a management plan for the restoration of gray wolves and introducing a Keep Colorado Wild Pass in 2023 that can be purchased during the Colorado vehicle registration or renewal process.

Join us! Visit Colorado Outdoors Online for regular blog updates (including this first story from Southeast Region Public Information Officer Bill Vogrin) and to find 125th anniversary swag.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram @coparkswildlife to discover interactive and educational materials, events and get inspired to #LifeLifeOutside.