(Colorado) -- Imagine getting home from the grocery store to find something in your bag that you didn't put there and you didn't want.
As many Coloradoans are renewing their vehicle registrations, they're finding out they are now the proud owner of a Colorado State Parks Pass whether they wanted one or not. With the passing of Senate Bill 21-249, each Colorado vehicle registration renewal automatically charges $29 on top of the renewal fee to buy a pass.
Otero county clerk and recorder Lyn Scott says she's not sure how it's going to work but she mentioned that you can opt out of the pass and not be charged the fee. You can only opt out, however, if you physically go into the clerk and recorder's office to opt out. If you normally send your check in with the little card you got in the mail, you'll be charged for the state park's pass. According to the legislation's fiscal note,
County Clerk and Recorders, who register vehicles on behalf of the Department of Revenue (DOR), are authorized to retain a portion of the fee revenue sufficient to cover costs associated with collecting and transmitting the fee.
The bill created the Keep Colorado Wild Pass and is expected to add as much as 54 million dollars in revenue to the state's coffers if 75 percent opt OUT, if 85 percent opt OUT, then the state of Colorado expects to collect as much as 33 million dollars.
Scott says there are posters educating residents on the legislation and she's trying to inform as many folks as possible about the change. Scott says the renewal card you receive in the mail will have the extra fee on the card, if you do not want it you must subtract the $29 fee from the total you send in. The easier way, of course, is to just go to the clerk and recorder's office and opt out.
County Commissioner Jim Baldwin says he understands that as it is right now, you will have the fee on every vehicle registration. "People are not going to be happy." Baldwin added.
More information from the fiscal note includes:
Colorado Parks and Wildlife. CPW currently sells annual and daily passes directly at parks, regional offices, online, and through other authorized agents. Since FY 2015-16, visitation at Colorado state parks has increased from about 14 million to 17 million visitor days per year. Revenue for the state parks component of the agency has ranged between $33.0 and $37.0 million in recent years, roughly half from park entry fees and half from camping fees. Colorado Search and Rescue. Search and rescue programs in Colorado are led by county sheriffs and rely on a network of professional volunteers. There is a grant program supported by the Search and Rescue Fund that receives revenue from sales of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card and a $0.25 surcharge on boat, snowmobile, and off-highway vehicle registrations, and hunting and fishing licenses. The grant program provides funding for search and rescue equipment and training.
The $29 charge is expected to start in January of 2023 will be include all of the following:
A passenger motor vehicle;
A light-weight truck with an empty vehicle weight of less than or equal to 16,000 pounds;
A motorcycle; or
A recreational vehicle.
If you would like to read the legislation that created the Keep Colorado Wild Parks Pass, access it here. https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb21-249