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, 8 projects were completed, representing $4,775,734 in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Durango Open Space and Trails Program Support
$140,605 grant to City of Durango
With its Resilient Communities grant, The City of Durango partnered with Durango Trails to hire and train two crew leaders to respond to the significant impacts of increased land and trail use caused by the pandemic. Crew leaders worked with area land managers and volunteers to maximize capacity for trail stewardship through Leave No Trace education, social trail mitigation work, trash removal, and other general stewardship tasks. In addition, this funding supported the creation and installation of the City’s first bilingual wayfinding signs at Horse Gulch, Dalla Mountain Park, and Overend Mountain Park.
Learn more about Durango’s Open Spaces
Durango Animas River Greenway Trail Connection
$1,382,955 grant to City of Durango
The City of Durango used its Connect grant to complete the northern extension of its most highly utilized single recreation amenity, the Animas River Greenway Trail (pictured above). Over one mile of a 10-foot-wide concrete multi-use trail was constructed to connect the existing trail to Oxbow Park and Preserve, the City’s newest open space and river access point. This portion of the trail was built in a residential portion of town close to an active train line. In addition, a 170-foot-long pedestrian bridge was constructed across the Animas River, as well as two railroad crossings and an underpass to safely link area residents to multiple public parks and open spaces.
View a detailed map of the Animas River Trail and Greenway
Fountain Creek Corridor Greenway Master Plan
$75,000 grant to Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District
With its Planning and Capacity grant, Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District created a Master Plan identifying creek restoration and improvement projects, as well as adjustments for the Colorado Front Range Trail (CFRT). Several trail and park projects preserving open space, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation were completed throughout the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, the City of Fountain, Pueblo County, and the City of Pueblo. The master plan also proposed a 46-mile long, multi-use trail connecting Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Once completed, the trail will be part of the bigger CFRT vision to construct a continuous trail network along Front Range communities running through Colorado from the Wyoming to New Mexico borders.
Read more about the Fountain Creek Greenway Master Plan
Jacober Acequia Phase II
$97,631 grant to Colorado Open Lands
In partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado Open Lands (COL) used its Open Space grant to permanently protect the 121-acre Jacober Ranch in Costilla County with a conservation easement. Its protection builds on COL’s Acequia Initiative to preserve Colorado’s oldest farms and agricultural settlements in the southern San Luis Valley. The ranch is composed of riparian forests, wetlands, irrigated hayfields, and sagebrush shrublands that provide habitat for elk, mule deer, black bear, wild turkey, and other small mammal and bird species. The property is part of the scenic viewshed along the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway and is recognized as a conservation priority due to its unique natural heritage, important agricultural lands, and its critical wildlife habitat.
Learn more about Jacober Ranch
Longmont Emerging Land Stewardship Needs
$219,573 grant to City of Longmont
The City of Longmont used its Resilient Communities grant to partner with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers to deploy maintenance crews at the City’s Greenway trails, Golden Ponds, McIntosh Lake, and Sandstone Ranch Nature Area. Crews completed critical restoration and management work delayed by the pandemic including invasive species removal, tree planting, native seed collection, river clean-up, social trail closure, and more. This partnership engaged 811 diverse volunteersin 3,524 hours of stewardship work through the 2021-2022 seasons. Partners also delivered Spanish-speaking leadership training and coordinated several projects with Spanish-speaking residents, engaging and embracing Longmont’s Latinx community in stewardship activities.
Learn more about Wildlands Restoration Volunteers
Peaks to Plains trail Clear Creek Greenway Canyon Segment Phase 2 Project
$2,000,000 grant to Clear Creek County
Clear Creek County used its Connect grant to expand a portion of the Peaks to Plains (P2P) Trail along Highway 6 through Clear Creek Canyon. The new trail segment begins on the west side of Tunnel 5/Oxbow Trailhead and continues downstream along Clear Creek to Mayhem Gulch where it connects with a previously completed GOCO-funded portion of the P2P Trail. This segment provides safe passage through the canyon for pedestrians and cyclists and more recreation access along the creek. This project brings the County closer to connecting the canyon to the City of Idaho Springs and benefits users and visitors from Clear Creek County, the Front Range, and beyond.
Learn more about the Peaks to Trails project
Prospect Park Renovation Phase II
$519,970 grant to City of Wheat Ridge
The City of Wheat Ridge used its Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant to enhance Prospect Park. The City installed six new pickleball courts, added two shelters and a fishing dock, replaced the old picnic pavilion, relocated the playground, enhanced the park entrance, and improved vehicle and pedestrian paths. Prospect Park gathers nearly 45,000 residents and visitors annually, and its renovation allows more opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to enjoy the park.
Read about the Prospect Park Renovation project
Stewardship of Public Parks and Open Spaces in Colorado Springs
$340,000 grant to City of Colorado Springs
In partnership with Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI), the City of Colorado Springs used its Resilient Communities grant to employ seasonal workers to complete stewardship projects within the City’s parks system. RMFI employees constructed new trails, restored social trails, installed fencing, cleared brush, built drainage, improved rock walls and steps, and led volunteer workdays at several municipal properties including Cresta Open Space, Garden of the Gods, Austin Bluffs Open Space, Cottonwood Creek trail, North Cheyenne Canon Park, Palmer Park, and Ute Valley Park.
Workers were provided environmental education including Leave No Trace training and conducted 139 workdays during 2021-2022. The City also partnered with the Trails and Open Space Coalition to develop a Trails Ambassadors program to educate users on trail safety and etiquette. This project helped mitigate the effects of increased use in the City’s parks and prevented further degradation of wildlife habitat. It created sustainable recreational amenities and ensured a positive experience for recreationists on municipal properties.
Check out RMFI’s stewardship programs