There’s a lot of fanfare around grant awards, but what happens after the ceremonial checks are presented and the reporters have published their articles? Our partners get down to business.
For 30 years, GOCO has improved Colorado’s great outdoors with the help of Colorado Lottery proceeds. We’ve put more than $1.4 billion in proceeds back into 5,600 projects to improve the lives of Coloradans across the state.
After projects are awarded funding, grant recipients usually have about two years to make their projects happen.
In recent months, 7 projects wrapped up, representing over $1 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Coal Creek Park Redevelopment Project
$555,956 grant to Town of Erie
With its community Impact grant, the Town of Erie revitalized Coal Creek Park into a destination for residents and visitors of Old Town Erie. The park now features a community restroom, a cafe/shelter building, two shade shelters, an event lawn, a promenade for community events, expanded trail opportunities, a nature-themed playground, improved parking spaces, an electric vehicle charging station, a celebration plaza with sensory play equipment, and a dual-use area that will house the town’s ice rink in winter and a splash pad during summer months. The city planted over 150 new trees and 30,000 square feet of native grasses, installed natural turf, and over 1,500 shrubs, grasses, and perennials. The park provides residents and visitors an opportunity to engage with the outdoors, which proved especially important for mental and physical health during the pandemic.
Learn more about Erie’s parks
Enhancing Habitat and Outdoor Learning Opportunities near Delta County Schools
$24,916 grant to North Fork Pool, Park, and Recreation District
With its Conservation Service Corps grant, the North Fork Recreation District partnered with Western Colorado Conservation Corps to improve habitat and treat invasive species, while expanding community environmental education near three local schools. Crews worked for three weeks at the Paonia K-8 School and River Park, Crossroads Park within the North Fork Pool Park and Recreation District, and at the future site of the Miners Trail at the Delta County Fairgrounds. Crew members treated 2.5 acres of invasive tamarisk and prepared the site for revegetation, and treated Russian olive and tamarisk on an additional four acres of river habitat along the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Crews also collaborated with the Wilder Bunch, Nature Connection's (a Generation Wild community) high school trail crew to prepare sites for future trail construction, maintenance, and ecological restoration with help from additional students and community volunteers.
Learn more about WCCC
Healing Lands and Reconnecting People
$222,314 grant to Montezuma Land Conservancy
With its Resilient Communities grant, Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) partnered with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Telluride Institute (TI), and Mountain Studies Institute to launch a new initiative to build cross-cultural connections between tribal and non-tribal communities. Partners collaborated on ecological and cultural restoration opportunities, scientific work that engaged community members, youth leadership projects, teacher trainings, and roundtable discussions. In addition, funding supported a cross-cultural program manager position working with MLC and TI to facilitate deeper engagement of tribal youth throughout the project. Efforts deepened organizational commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice by addressing historic systems of oppression, including a lack of engagement with tribal communities.
Learn more about MLC
North Cheyenne Canon Park Stratton Open Space Conservation Stewardship Program
$91,145 grant to City of Colorado Springs
With its Stewardship Impact grant, the City of Colorado Springs partnered with Rocky Mountain Field Institute and Friends of Cheyenne Cañon for stewardship and restoration projects at two popular local outdoor spaces. Partners performed over 580 hours of trail, restoration, and maintenance work at North Cheyenne Cañon Park and Stratton Open Space. They closed several miles of unofficial, user-made ‘social trails’ and built a more sustainable connector trail to discourage the development of future social trails. In addition, funding supported eight field trip events over the 2021 and 2022 summer seasons that introduced local youth to outdoor experiences like hiking, rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, ropes courses, and archery, along with Leave No Trace stewardship education.
Learn more about GOCO’s Stewardship Impact program
Purgatoire-Cucharas Collaborative Forest Health & stewardship Project- Phase 2
$30,825 grant to City of Trinidad
With its Conservation Service Corps (CSC) grant, the City of Trinidad partnered with Mile High Youth Corps Southern Front Range for phase two of the Purgatoire- Cucharas Collaborative Forest Health & Stewardship Project (PCCFHSP). Over three weeks, crews and community members mitigated fire fuels along six acres of the North Lake State Wildlife Area and enhanced one mile of trail on the North Fork Purgatoire Trail System. This project improved forest health, addressed vegetation overgrowth on United States Forest Service (USFS) trails, and enhanced visitor access.
The PCCFHSP is a collaborative effort initiated in 2022 engaging young adult and veteran crews, volunteers, USFS staff and firefighters, and an adult crew of local community members on stewardship projects across two watersheds. This is part of a broad-scale effort to accomplish critical stewardship efforts and improve the protection of key drinking water sources for local communities.
Learn more about GOCO’s CSC grant program
Upper Gunnison Basin Wet Meadows & Riparian Restoration Project
$27,380 grant to Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District
With its Conservation Service Corps grant, the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD) partnered with Western Colorado Conservation Corps crews to address the urgent need to adapt the Upper Gunnison Basin to drought and wildfire. Over four weeks, crews constructed beaver dam structures designed to mimic the form and function of natural beaver dams and implemented other low-tech processes to speed channel recovery and support wetland and river vegetation. This project also used hand‐placed Zeedyk‐style rock structures to help restore degraded stream channels in wet meadow systems. This project is part of the greater Upper Gunnison Basin Wet Meadow & Riparian Restoration Project, which has conducted meaningful restoration projects in the area for over 10 years while connecting community members to the land and training them on best restoration practices.Learn more about the UGRWCD
Warren Tech Outdoor Classroom
$59,803 grant to City of Lakewood
With its School Yard Initiative grant, the City of Lakewood and Warren Technical High School (Warren Tech) expanded its outdoor education center. Warren Tech provides students with the opportunity to learn trades and earn college credit while still in high school, and many of its programs have an outdoor learning focus. The expansion of its education center gives students more opportunities to develop career-building skills outside. The improved center now features shade structures, a native plant trail, an outdoor demonstration kitchen (shown above), interpretive signage, a farm stand, and more. Over 21 fruit trees,77 shrubs, and 34 perennials were planted, along with irrigation installation and landscaping. Some spaces of the outdoor center are accessible to the public outside of school hours.
Learn more about Warren Tech