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We had them first, and now the rest of Colorado is beginning to catch up.

On Thursday, Governor Polis and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced more than a dozen new Rivian Waypoints electric vehicle chargers are now available at CPW parks. For a limited time — here’s another gift to Coloradans — the use of the CPW chargers is free of charge to the public.

This announcement is part of the Polis administration’s phased plan to install Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers throughout the state. Within its environmental goals, the administration has committed to expanding electric vehicle access and infrastructure statewide to protect Colorado’s land and air quality.

Park visitors can now charge their EVs at John Martin Reservoir, Barr Lake, Castlewood Canyon, Chatfield, North Sterling, and soon Lake Pueblo state parks with Rivian’s Waypoints Level 2 chargers open to any make or model of an electric vehicle. In addition, Rivian has installed four Waypoints at the CPW Southeast Region offices in Colorado Springs and in March, installed two chargers in Cheyenne Mountain State Park outside of Colorado Springs.

“We are working hard to increase access to electric vehicle charging for Coloradans. As we work to protect Colorado’s world-class outdoors, cutting harmful emissions and improving air quality is a big part of achieving this. I am thrilled to announce the installation of new Rivian chargers bringing the total to 16 across six state parks in Colorado,” said Governor Polis.

CPW has also previously installed chargers at Cherry Creek, Chatfield, St. Vrain, and Staunton state parks with a separate EV charging provider.

“The work does not stop here and I am looking forward to expanding Coloradans’ access to EVs in the upcoming years,” added Polis in his announcement. “I am committed to improving air quality, saving people money, and protecting our environment so that Colorado outdoors remains an incredible destination to visit. Thank you to CPW and Rivian for your hard work and support.”

“CPW is proud to say our parks now offer EV charging sites,” said CPW Acting Director Heather Disney Dugan. “We are grateful to our partners at Rivian for collaborating with us and we look forward to more installations that will stretch throughout our state park system.”

Dugan said the EV chargers are proof of CPW’s commitment to adding park facilities based on the evolving needs of Colorado’s residents and visitors.

“These new park features are a wonderful way to accommodate people who own electric vehicles but also want to experience the beauty of our parks and access Colorado’s remote destinations,” said Dugan. “This is a great example of CPW advancing its mission of protecting our public lands while also connecting people to the outdoors. We encourage people to use these charging sites and show everyone how outdoor recreation can be balanced with mindful conservation.”

Blending outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation is a mutual goal of this partnership with Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer and automotive technology company. Salida was the first municipality in the world to receive a Rivian charging station. The charging installation was active in June, and by August, eye-catching murals were installed along the wall of the Safeway building highlighting the charging stations.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the way that EV-driving Coloradans and visitors of this beautiful state are able to get out and explore this season,” said Trent Warnke, Senior Director of Charging and Energy Solutions at Rivian. “Our Rivian Waypoints Level 2 chargers are the ideal charging solution for all EV drivers looking to power up while they’re out enjoying snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing among other winter activities in Colorado’s state parks.”

The Level 2 chargers provide up to 11.5 kW – enough to add up to 25 miles of charge per hour to a Rivian R1T or R1S. All Rivian Waypoints are powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The use of the CPW chargers is free of charge to the public for a limited time.

Since taking office, Governor Polis has taken action to deliver on his commitment to increasing accessibility to electric vehicles and EV infrastructure statewide. He has worked to create innovative opportunities in Colorado and called for nationwide action from federal partners to speed installation. Beginning in 2019, the Governor signed an executive order to increase electric vehicles on the road; from passenger cars to school buses to give consumers more options. He also signed an executive order committing to making state buildings and vehicles energy-efficient and utilizing clean energy.

Earlier this year, the Governor joined CPW and Rivian to unveil the two charging stations at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which were the first achievement of the phased plan. Since then, the number of charging stations across the state has now reached 16 with plans for more future installations. The Polis administration has also advanced the goal of investing in electric school bus fleets and has worked with federal partners to begin transitioning school buses to electric models in Colorado.

Follow CPW’s social media @coparkswildlife for more information as additional Level 2 chargers are installed around the state. To learn more about the Polis-Primavera administration’s commitment to climate resiliency in all communities, readers can visit cwcb.colorado.gov/climate and read the Colorado Climate Plan.

Featured image: Rivian murals adorn the wall of the Safeway building highlighting the charging station location in Salida. Photo by Merrell Bergin.