UPDATED October 30, 2023 –
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) manages about 350 State Wildlife Areas (SWA) across the state. The vast majority do not impact the CT. However, one of them does affect those who travel Segment 12 from mile 0.0 to 0.5 (part of the CT Collegiate East) as the Trail passes through the west end of the Clear Creek Reservoir SWA. This is also where you will find the Clear Creek Reservoir Campground. It will impact CT hikers and horsemen, but likely not many cyclists because most diverge on the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Detour immediately before this SWA pass-through. Those affected will include hikers choosing the Collegiate East as well as CT Collegiate Loop. It will not affect CT travelers who do only the CT Collegiate West, as they will not encounter this SWA with the new license requirement.
Previously, CT Segment 12 travelers needed an SWA Pass (or, alternatively, a valid fishing or hunting license will work) or they’ll risk being fined, typically $100. However, we have some positive news for folks planning their 2024 trips. CPW is no longer requiring passes for people who are simply hiking through and perhaps taking advantage of their restroom facilities. If you plan to camp, fish, or hunt you will still need a valid pass.
The least expensive approach to this is a one-day SWA Pass, carefully purchased to be valid the day you’ll pass through the SWA. The one-day pass, as of this writing, is $11.50. It will be easiest to buy one online. Here is where you can buy the SWA Pass online. Scroll down and click on “State Wildlife Area Pass.” You will be directed to a page to enter your age and residency (the cost is the same for residents and non-residents). Once you enter that information, you want to buy the “Z02 – Habitat Stamp”. You will of course need an account and a password to complete the transaction.
Plan carefully to buy this online on, say, the day before you’ll be there and when you have strong enough cell signal to complete the transaction. For those traveling southbound, buy this when you are in or near Twin Lakes Village as trail travelers report having cell signal. After purchasing and while you still have cell signal, take a screen shot of the purchase confirmation showing your name, the pass and date it’s valid. Be ready to show this to the Wildlife Officer you might encounter in CT Seg 12 mi 0.0-0.5.
Buying a license at a bricks-and-mortar store is possible but iffy. For example, though the Twin Lakes General Store normally sells fishing licenses and may also attempt to sell this SWA Pass, they have had trouble with the required equipment and materials. We think buying the pass online is the way to go. Purchase of a SWA Pass helps with costs of administrating their hundreds of wildlife properties and preserving the habitats that are under increasing pressure.
If we hear of any additional changes, we will update this blog post. If you are interested in learning more about the SWA program, you can do that here.