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GOCO invests $9.1 million in trail construction and future of conservation in Colorado

Friday, September 29, 2017 -- GOCO
September 29, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 9/29/2017
Contact:   Rosemary Dempsey, 303-226-4530, rdempsey@goco.org or

         Laura Cardon, 303-226-4531, lcardon@goco.org

DENVER - Today the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded $9.1 million in grants for trail construction and land conservation projects across Colorado.

$8.9 million was awarded as part of GOCO’s Connect Initiative, funding five trail construction projects that will build close critical gaps in trails on the Western Slope and I-70 corridor. This is the second round of funding for Connect, which will invest $28.4 million by 2020 in creating safe access for all Coloradans to the outdoors. More than 80% of people in Colorado recreate on trails, and closing gaps and increasing connectivity has long been a top priority for the state’s residents.

The remaining $200,000 awarded today funded three projects through GOCO’s conservation excellence grant program. The program funds research and pilot projects that improve industry standards and tackle industry-wide issues for land conservation in Colorado.

Funded projects are as follows:

CONNECT

Clear Creek Greenway through Idaho Springs, $2 million to City of Idaho Springs, in partnership with the Clear Creek Greenway Authority (CCGA)

The City of Idaho Springs will help construct three separate segments of the Clear Creek Greenway as the result of a partnership among the City, CCGA, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The new segments will create additional capacity for tourism to the area, which already sees as many as 10,000 visitors per day during peak season. Tourists and local residents will benefit from safer, pedestrian-friendly connections between the City’s business district on the east side with its downtown area. The trail will create safer connections among local parks, Clear Creek Recreation Center, and historic sites.

Durango Animas River Greenway Trail Connection, $1,382,955 grant to the City of Durango

The City of Durango will complete the northern extension of the Animas River Greenway Trail from Memorial Park to Oxbow Park and Preserve, the City’s newest open space area in the Animas View Drive neighborhood. The extension will run nearly one mile and be a 10-foot-wide, concrete trail. It will safely link area residents, including the more than 1,000 people living along Animas View Drive without sidewalks, to multiple public parks and open spaces.

Lunch Loops Trail, $1,517,045 grant to the City of Grand Junction, in partnership with Mesa Land Trust

The City of Grand Junction and Mesa Land Trust will close a significant gap in the Grand Valley’s paved trail system with a 1.5-mile, paved, shared use path to the Lunch Loops/Three Sisters single track dirt trails. Grand Valley residents and visitors will be able to safely access 75 miles of single track trail systems that are currently primarily accessed by car due to safety concerns along Monument Road. Outdoor recreation helps those living in the Grand Valley achieve healthy lifestyles and also supports the local economy.

Peaks to Plains Trail Clear Creek Greenway Canyon Segment Phase 2 Project, $2 million to Clear Creek County

Clear Creek County will extend a recently completed, GOCO-funded, three-mile section of the Peaks to Plains Trail through Clear Creek Canyon along Highway 6. The new trail will begin on the east side of the Oxbow Parcel parking lot, just east of Tunnel 6, and continue .75 miles along Clear Creek to the west side of Tunnel 5. The trail will bring the County closer to connecting the canyon to the City of Idaho Springs. It will benefit users from the Front Range and the Clear Creek County community, making the safe route for pedestrians and cyclists through Clear Creek Canyon longer and providing easier access to the creek where people fish, wade in the water, rock climb, and enjoy nature.

Trail Through Montrose, $2 million grant to the City of Montrose, in partnership with the Montrose Recreation District (MRD)

The City of Montrose and MRD will construct 2.25 miles of new trail and two bike/pedestrian underpasses to cross U.S. Highway 550 and U.S. Highway 90, creating a safer, more connected community. A new trail section on the southern end of Montrose will connect the recently opened, 80,000-square-foot Community Recreation Center (CRC), located east of Highway 550, with 282-acre Baldridge Regional Park and the existing Uncompahgre River Trail, both located west of that highway. The connection will enable bike and pedestrian access by 86% of Montrose’s population living east of Highway 550 to the parks and trail system on the west side. A second trail section will extend the River Trail north to residential areas that currently have no easy access to parks and recreation.

CONSERVATION EXCELLENCE

Advancing Community Conservation Work at Colorado Land Trusts, $92,600 grant to the Land Trust Alliance

The Alliance will invest GOCO funding in furthering its community conservation work with seven land trust organizations in Colorado. Each land trust was chosen after attending a previous community conservation workshop, and the Alliance has designed an 18-month program to continue those learning efforts. The land trusts will reconvene, take online courses, and receive continued mentoring to expand community conservation efforts in each of their localities, sharing their experiences with other land trusts in the state, the region, and across the country. More than half of the GOCO grant will be used for subgrants for land trusts to put their community conservation ideas into action.

Generation Leadership, $60,750 grant to Palmer Land Trust

GOCO funding will help Palmer Land Trust launch its Generation Leadership Project, an effort  to engage Generation X and Millennials who use public lands but often aren’t involved in the conservation of them. Generation Leadership aims to cultivate and empower the next generation of land conservation advocates, moving urgent conservation projects forward and ensuring the future of conservation in southern Colorado.

Survey of Critical Biological Resources in Lake County, CO, $46,650 grant to Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP)

CNHP, a research unit at CSU, will put GOCO funds to work conducting a biological survey that will inform best practices for land conservation and natural resource protection and management. Lake County has not been thoroughly surveyed for critical natural resources, so important land management decisions are being made without current data. This project sets the stage for successful collaborations that will lead to informed conservation of Lake County and central Colorado’s wealth of natural resources.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,000 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.