Colorado’s newest state park is one of the largest, a peek at Fishers Peak

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TRINIDAD — For the first time in generations, Fishers Peak outside of Trinidad is open for the public.

Friday, Governor Jared Polis, alongside Colorado Parks and Wildlife opened a portion of the area to officially create Colorado’s newest state park: Fishers Peak State Park.

“The local residents are behind this project because we know. This is our backdrop. It’s what we grew up with so to see it and now be able to have access to it, has been kind of meh,” said Phil Rico, the Mayor of Trinidad.

The 9,633 foot-tall peak will be the staple of the new park that when completed, will be the second-largest state park in Colorado. Friday’s event opened a few miles of trail and about 250 acres of the 19,200 acres to come. That process will come with public comment and a master plan.

“It’s been frustrating for so many Trinidad residents for decades to go see it, but couldn’t access it because it was private land,” said Gov. Polis.

The process started when Rico and state officials worked with the landowner about purchasing the land. There will still be grazing on parts of the state park, an educational opportunity as Governor Polis sees it.

“When this whole process started in 2017, we never envisioned that it would get to this point and it has come together so fast. We started off purchasing just 4,600 acres,” said Rico.

Rico says, a study done of the park’s impact conservatively estimated 50,000-100,000 visitors that could generate $2 million – $11 million for the local economy.

“This is a big point of pride and now we can access the iconic fishers peak above Trinidad for visitors from across the country and across the world,” Gov. Polis said. “This will be an important part of the tourism experience to visit some of the very best that Colorado has to offer.”

It’s Colorado’s first state park added since 2013. Polis said state park usage has doubled in the past decade and over just the 2020 summer, usage jumped by 25 percent.

With that increase, the governor wants to add new state parks and expand existing ones.

“That’s why we live in Colorado,” Gov. Polis explained. “People love the great outdoors so we need to do a better job of making sure, as our population grows, we have more opportunity to serve people so they can camp, they can hike, they can fish, they can hunt.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants suggestions for the next state park. To do so, head to their website here.

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