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 5,700 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, 8 projects wrapped up, representing over $2 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:

Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds/Crystal Lake Project

$150,000 grant to the City of Rocky Ford

With a Centennial Program Visioning grant, The City of Rocky Ford worked on a master plan to improve the Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds and Crystal Lake recreation area. The Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds host the 145-year-old “oldest continuous fair in the State of Colorado,” while also supporting community events, athletics, and youth organizations. This project helped the City facilitate community and stakeholder engagement, identify opportunities for growth and development, assess regional economic impact, and develop equitable recreational opportunities that will uniquely serve southeast Colorado. Partners collaborated with the City of Aurora to provide public access to nearly 5,000 acres of former agricultural land stretching along the Arkansas River. This project was most recently awarded an additional grant to continue the planning process.
Read more about GOCO’s most recent grant awards

Clear Creek Recreation in the Outdoors Management Plan

$100,000 grant to Clear Creek County

Clear Creek County used its Planning and Capacity grant to create the Clear Creek Recreation in the Outdoors Management Plan (ROMP). The community-informed plan brings together local, federal, and state land managers to inform decision-making, agreements, and spending for the next 10 years. Clear Creek County has seen a significant increase in visitors to its outdoor spaces. This plan is critical for improving coordination among land managers and ensuring a shared vision for county recreation that will benefit residents and visitors alike.

Read the Clear Creek ROMP

Coal Miner’s Bucket Park

$42,292 grant to the Town of Oak Creek

With a Mini-Grant, the Town of Oak Creek improved Coal Miner’s Bucket Park. The park is located within a 10-minute walk of most of the town’s residential homes and is an extension of the Tracks and Trails museum, the town’s main attraction. Funding helped construct a trailhead for the park’s Noon Whistle Trail, which connects to the Town’s main street. In addition, the town added a picnic area, landscaping, and other infrastructure, and addressed safety concerns. All components of the park are now ADA-compliant.
 Read a local press release about the project 

Colorado Open Lands Fellow

$127,740 grant to Colorado Open Lands

Colorado Opens Lands (COL) used its Fellowship Program grant to hire a fellow for two years to support strategic land conservation. The fellow worked at COL’s Salida office and participated in 30 land and water conservation projects. Projects ranged from protecting large private ranches and wildlife habitats to smaller, community-focused efforts involving public access and land stewardship. Senior staff members in the Salida office mentored the fellow and encouraged participation in all areas of the organization’s work. This fellow is now in a full-time role at the organization.
Read more about this COL fellow’s experience

My Outdoor Colorado’s Russell Square Park

$1,394,155 grant to the City and County of Denver

With this Generation Wild grant, the My Outdoor Colorado (MOC) community enhanced Denver’s Russell Square Park to create a vibrant and safe space for community members of all ages to engage with nature. Now a central part of the Cole neighborhood community, the park features s grassy fields, a playground and other nature play elements, picnic amenities, and a raised platform for community events like outdoor concerts, skills workshops, film screenings, Zumba classes, and more. 
Learn more about My Outdoor Colorado

Nick Theos Family Ranches

$45,000 grant to Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust

Through a Transaction Cost Assistance Program grant awarded through Keep It Colorado, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust partnered with the Neilson family to permanently conserve the 3,427-acre Nick Theos Family Ranches east of Meeker. The property shares miles of boundary with federal land and features diverse, high-quality habitats ranging from dryland pastures at 6,600 feet in elevation to mountainous terrain at nearly 8,900 feet. The property contains significant biodiversity and climate resilience, as The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient and Connected Network analysis indicates. This property’s protection preserves critical habitat for golden eagle, cutthroat trout, and greater sage grouse, among other species. Maintaining this fifth-generation sheep operation as open ranchland ensures it will never become available for development and protects the region's scenic character and agricultural heritage.
Learn more about Keep It Colorado

RFOV: Community-Powered Stewardship in Western Colorado

$298,490 grant to Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers

With its Stewardship Impact grant, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) addressed growing stewardship needs resulting from increased recreation and wildfire throughout the Roaring Fork Valley in Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin counties. Through community volunteer projects, group workdays, and youth service-learning days, RFOV coordinated 421 work days in its service area. Additionally, RFOV coordinated education opportunities and training for staff, partners, and volunteers ranging from rock work, saw and chainsaw training, introduction to restoration, sustainable trail design, fire mitigation and post-fire restoration, and wilderness first aid. Funding also supported the purchase of a truck, an upgraded volunteer registration system, and the hiring of a full-time program coordinator and two seasonal field coordinators.
Learn more about Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers

Upper Arkansas Watershed Resiliency Plan

$35,750 grant to Central Colorado Conservancy

Central Colorado Conservancy (CCC) and partners within the Upper Arkansas Watershed Partnership used its Planning and Capacity grant to conduct a river health assessment and hazard zone study on three major streams in Chaffee County. The work conducted across 40 river miles was part of a larger watershed planning process that provided critical data on stream health, agricultural needs related to irrigation and water rights, and hazard zone mapping, which highlights areas vulnerable to specific hazards like flooding. Efforts informed strategies to create a healthy Upper Arkansas Watershed river corridor and will help protect and restore open lands in the future.Learn more about the Upper Arkansas Watershed Partnership