All trust lands are managed to provide financial support to important state institutions, primarily K-12 public education. As Trustee for these lands, the State Land Board generates revenue by issuing leases and permits for a wide variety of uses on these properties, including private recreation. Approximately 400,000 acres of trust lands are currently leased for private recreational use, including the following uses:
- Private and guided hunting and fishing
- Hiking and horseback riding
- Backcountry survival courses
- Mountain bike trails
- Archery and firearm ranges
- Private campgrounds
- Endurance races
- Feature film locations
We are always open to discussing innovative uses on trust land. However, please note that as Trustee for these properties, we cannot donate trust land (no matter how noble the cause), or make it available for recreational use without charging a use fee.
Trust lands are working lands
As such, they are (almost always) leased for revenue generating purposes such as livestock grazing, oil/gas development, timber management, tower sites, renewable energy production, or commercial operations.
Multiple leases on a property
Trust lands are often leased for a variety of uses under separate and distinct leases, most commonly agriculture (AG) and recreation (REC). Each lease describes the specific set of uses allowed under the agreement. For example, most of our existing AG leases are for livestock grazing. The holder of a grazing lease (lessee) cannot use the property for crop production, and does not hold rights to hunt the property or allow third party hunting access. Similarly, a REC lessee cannot use the property for livestock grazing. In order to use any trust land for recreational purposes, one must apply for and obtain a REC lease from the State Land Board.
The Public Access Program (PAP)
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) holds a unique, 770,000-acre lease for the Public Access Program (PAP) in order to make trust land publicly accessible to sportsmen. CPW is responsible for ensuring that sportsmen comply with the rules and regulations of the lease. CPW's field staff must ensure that issues between public users and other existing lessees on the property are addressed and minimized. Like any lease, a trust land property enrolled in the PAP can be removed from the program if there concerns that cannot be resolved.
Read more about public access on trust land.
Tell us what you think.
We welcome comments from our agriculture lessees regarding the Public Access Program (PAP). Please use the incident report form to inform us about issues that have occurred on your leased land.
Likewise, if you are a member of the public who wishes to make a comment about the PAP, please use our general comment form.
Any party interested in entering or occupying state trust land for any type of recreational use/activity must obtain prior written authorization, either through a recreational lease or a special use/temporary access permit. This includes, but is not limited to: individuals, businesses, outdoor organizations, interpretive ventures, educational groups, and sportsmen’s clubs. See Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) §36-1-121 for additional information. Please note that the Lowry Property located in Arapahoe County is not available for recreation leasing.
Your lease entitles you to use the property only for those uses specifically identified within the lease document. All other uses require a separate agreement (lease) from the State Land Board.
Five years is standard. However, longer terms may be considered in special circumstances.
Guiding and Outfitting on state trust land requires specific approval by the State Land Board. If you apply for private hunting, only you and your guests may hunt on the property. If you intend to use the property for commercial hunting purposes (e.g. guided hunting, walk-on access for a fee), you must indicate this on your application. For guiding or outfitting, you must provide a copy of your current Colorado Outfitters and Guide License.
The requirement for a bond will be specified in the lease, permit or contract. The amount of the bond will also be specified in the lease, permit, or contract. See the State Land Board’s Bonding FAQs for more information.