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Connect Initiative Grants

GOCO’s Connect Initiative will invest $30 million over the next five years to increase access to the outdoors in communities across the state through the Connect Initiative. The initiative will focus on connecting existing trail gaps, constructing new, highly demanded trail systems, and providing better walkable and bikeable access for youth and families to existing outdoor recreation opportunities.

During the development of GOCO’s new strategic plan, public and stakeholder input expressed Coloradans’ continued support for more trail connectivity. Meanwhile, the health and wellness of our state’s youth and families is a topic of concern as youth obesity rates continue to rise. Through this initiative, Coloradoans will have free access to safe, non-motorized trails connecting them to outdoor destinations and experiences in their own communities and beyond.

who can apply

Eligible grantees include municipalities, counties, and Title 32 special park and recreation districts that receive Conservation Trust Fund monies from the Department of Local Affairs. Those eligible entities may sponsor projects on behalf of entities that are not eligible for GOCO funding such as school districts, non-profit organizations, etc.

Projects must be primarily for trail construction, however land acquisitions may be considered with staff approval. There is no requirement for surface type. Projects that present an exciting opportunity to leverage partnerships and outside funding, connect important trail segments, and are shovel-ready may score more competitively. 

how to apply

Email Local Government Program Manager Jake Houston at trails@goco.org to discuss your eligibility for this special initiative. Please include three times you are available for a phone call to discuss your project.

The maximum Connect Initiative grant request is $2 million, with a minimum match of 25% of the total project cost, of which, a minimum of 10% must be cash.  GOCO will not fund more than 75% of the total project cost. Read program details >>

when to apply

  • Feb. 1, 2017: Request for Concept Papers Released
  • April 17, 2017: Concepts Due
  • June 15, 2017: Board decision on concepts for full application at GOCO Board Meeting in Fort Morgan
  • June 2017: Applications released
  • August 2017: Applications due
  • November 30, 2017: Grants awarded at GOCO Board Meeting in Loveland (construction may not begin until after grant is awarded and a grant contract is signed). Projects have up to three years to complete trail construction (November 30, 2020).


Contact Jake Houston, Local Government Program Manager at trails@goco.org