The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) has announced the purchase of 168 acres to expand the Ramah State Wildlife Area in eastern El Paso County. The project marks the first time the DOW has made a land purchase funded by the sale of the Colorado Habitat Stamp.

Earlier this year, the DOW used Habitat Stamp funds for a perpetual fishing access easement along the Arkansas River in Lake County, but expansion of Ramah marks the first time Habitat Stamp money was used to acquire title to land that will be set aside for wildlife habitat and wildlife recreation.

The cost to purchase additional land at Ramah Reservoir State Wildlife Area (SWA) was $120,000.

A formal dedication ceremony is planned for September 15 at 9 a.m. in conjunction with the annual Ramah Youth Archery and Shotgun Clinic known as “Bang and Twang,” which runs all day.

“The new property purchased with Habitat Stamp funds was located within the original boundaries of Ramah SWA. The purchase of this private property simplifies the property boundaries, reduces trespassing issues, and opens up new access for hunters and anglers,” said Jeromy Huntington, the local wildlife manager in eastern El Paso County.

Huntington said the additional land is a riparian area that provides habitat for a large variety of species especially waterfowl, dove, turkey, and deer. The tract is also used by dozens of non-game bird species.

Ramah SWA is located in northeastern El Paso County four miles west of the town of Ramah.

Ramah Reservoir went dry following several years of drought, but this year’s rains have provided enough water to start filling it up. At the present time, the boat ramp doesn’t reach the water, but small boats carried in.

Hunters planning to visit the property for the opening of dove and fall turnkey seasons beginning September 1 will now have more room to spread out and utilize the land along the west end of the reservoir. Teal season opens September 8.

Other hunting opportunities include rabbits, hares, deer and waterfowl hunting. Overnight camping and open fires are prohibited.

Ramah Reservoir is a warmwater lake. The reservoir has been stocked with small bluegill in addition to catchable catfish, bass, and crappie. Future stocking is planned depending on water levels. Boats are allowed for fishing or to retrieve downed waterfowl, but swimming, jet-skiing and water-skiing are prohibited.

Anyone who uses a Colorado State Wildlife area must purchase a Colorado Habitat Stamp.

The habitat stamp program was started in 2006 as a way to preserve and enhance wildlife habitat in Colorado. During 2006, the DOW collected nearly $3.6 million through the Habitat Stamp sales. That money is being used to match a variety of grant programs to leverage more than $20 million for habitat protection across the state.

The habitat stamp costs $5 with the purchase of each hunting or fishing license. People who do not hunt or fish can purchase a stamp for $10.25 which includes the Colorado Search and Rescue fee.

In 2006, more than 99 percent of the income from habitat stamp sales came from people who bought hunting and fishing licenses. The DOW is appealing to non-license buyers to support wildlife and consider purchasing a stamp.

The Division of Wildlife manages Colorado’s wildlife with revenue collected from hunting and fishing license sales. The Division does not receive tax dollars from the general fund.