Romatzke named CPW regional manager

Ron Velarde, left, of Grand Junction retired June 30 as the CPW Northwest Regional Manager, ending his 47 year career at the agency. His replacement, JT Romatzke, right, who was chosen last month to be Velarde’s replacement, here gives Velarde framed U.S. and Colorado flags that were flown over the Colorado Capitol the day Velarde retired. The commission and CPW leadership showered Velarde with many additional mementos of his years of service and high praise. CPW courtesy photo

RBC | Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced last month that Grand Junction area wildlife manager for Mesa and Garfield Counties, J. T. Romatzke, 43, has been chosen to replace Ron Velarde as northwest regional manager. Romatzke joined the agency in 1998, became a district manager in 2002, and area manager in 2008.
Romatzke played a big role in establishing the Cameo shooting and education complex just off I-70 at the mouth of Debeque Canyon on the Colorado River.
In 2015, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association named Romatzke public servant of the year. He was also named officer of the year by the Association of Midwest Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers.
Velarde, 71, who served as NW regional manager for 17 years, retired June 30. He started with the agency in 1970.
The Parks and Wildlife Commission, meeting in Steamboat last Thursday and Friday, heaped praise on Velarde for his “legendary” 47 years of service to the agency. A story was told that at 10 years old, in Walsenburg, Velarde penned a letter to Colorado Outdoors, the parks and wildlife publication, about how mountain lions should be managed and how the public should have the opportunity to hunt them. As a professional, Velarde was touted as a “bridge-builder” and for having played a key role in bringing about the establishment of the CPW Habitat Stamp Program.
Broscheid has said of Velarde, “I can’t overstate the huge impact he’s made on this agency. His wisdom and experience will be missed.