(Above: New sheriff in town. Not having fished with the guy or met him in person I had to bum a picture from the DP article.)
Merging Colorado State Parks and The Division of Wildlife and balancing the books is not an easy task. Picking somewhat of an outsider to lead this endeavor is one way of ensuring as smooth of a transition as possible without a lot of contention or dissent. If they picked someone from one side or the other, most would have felt that there was some level of favoritism involved. I am going to be honest and say that I don’t know a lot about this Rick Cable guy other than he ran the Forest Service for his entire career and lives in Pueblo. One thing I do know is that he has virtually zero chance of making everyone happy in this situation.
“The greater good” is the mantra of the US Forest Service that embodies a philosophy to create an environment that is intended to be the best possible for all concerned. This also means a willing to sacrifice both man and nature in smaller instances to achieve goals. This is not my philosophy by the way but most likely what this merger needs-an administrator willing to put tough answers on the board making the situation viable for long term which is exactly what the Colorado State Parks was not.
State Parks received additional funding from the state and once that money was cut, the State Parks started going into the red. The Division of Wildlife receives funding almost exclusively through license purchase and game permits. Not having relied on additional funding this agency has managed their books to meet future revenue\cost projections. Not an easy task and most everyone has a gripe or two in regards to how things are done. The real test for Rick Cables is to merge both entities into one governing body that functions as best as it possibly can for Colorado. This task will not require a bonafide wildlife biologist so much as a good administrator and my hopes are that Cables comes with these skills more than anything. There is a lot at stake here so I hope greatly that Cables is indeed ready to tackle all of these issues with genuine concern. A lot of what I do in the future will be affected by these decisions.
It is easy to look in hindsight but Colorado State Parks should have always sought to be viable without the additional funding from the state (even though this funding is what started the State Park system). Had they embraced this mission from the onset, they would have had less of a hurdle to jump when the funding was dropped. It should also be said that we couldn’t simply expect the original CDOW budget absorb the shortfall in this situation, as it would drag those wildlife areas down as well. Trimming the cost of Colorado State Parks budget overall is key to the success of the new Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. At least that is my take. I also think Rick Cables would be happy to tackle anything else than that whole pine beetle situation. Mr. Cables...I am not looking for miracles here but setting the bar fairly high on the expectations.
Good luck...and let's hope this move results in the "greatest" fishing Colorado has ever seen. (things are good but they could be so much better)
The Denver Post does a fairly good write up on this and I will post the link below for your review.