This initiative, which has been in place since 2016, is open to all veterans and active service members, irrespective of their state of residence. In 2022, the program saw over 5,000 beneficiaries, including 3,200 Colorado residents and 1,800 out-of-state visitors.
The free admission is just one of the ways Colorado honors its veterans. Disabled veterans receive additional benefits from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), including year-round free admission to state parks for those with the state’s disabled veterans license plate or Purple Heart plate.
Veterans with service-connected disabilities or a Purple Heart award can also obtain an Independence Pass for free admission to state parks, according to a report by The Pueblo Chieftain.
Moreover, disabled veterans with an overall rating of 60% or higher, as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs, can apply for a free lifetime fishing and small game hunting license. Members of the Wounded Warrior or Safe Harbor programs can apply for a limited number of free large game licenses, further enhancing the benefits offered by the state.
The park also houses a visitor center that provides information about the park and its wildlife. The park is home to a variety of wildlife species, including deer, coyotes, and a variety of birds, and also features a marina that offers boat rentals.
Staunton State Park, another participant in the program, offers a variety of activities such as archery, biking, camping, fishing, geocaching, hiking, and horseback riding. The park also has a picnic area and educational programs, providing a diverse range of options for visitors.
Cherry Creek State Park offers activities including biking, birding, boating, camping, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and sailing. It also has a swimming area and a model airplane flying field, ensuring there’s something for everyone.