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 31 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, 12 projects wrapped up, representing over $3 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Basecamp West Acquisition
$1,000,000 grant to Aspen Valley Land Trust
Aspen Valley Land Trust (AVLT) used its Land Acquisition grant to acquire the 42-acre Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) basecamp outside Marble. Founded in 1962, the COBS property represents the first Outward Bound campus in the United States, its acquisition protects its legacy of outdoor education and helps AVLT and regional partners expand equitable outdoor access to youth and surrounding communities. This funding supported the acquisition and restoration and enhancements of buildings on the site. These efforts enhanced the long-term protection of critical wildlife species within the Crystal River Potential Conservation Area—a designation made by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program for the unique ecosystems that add to Colorado’s biological diversity. Key species on the property include elk, moose, black bears, snowshoe hares, bobcats, and potential Canada lynx.
Learn more about the project
City of Colorado Springs 2023 Open Space Preservation and Trail Construction
$70,825 grant to City of Colorado Springs
With its Conservation Service Corps (CSC) grant, the City of Colorado Springs partnered with Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range (MHYC-SFR) for eight weeks of work at Austin Bluffs Open Space (ABOS) and Smith Creek Open Space (SCOS). MHYC-SFR crews constructed 6,650 feet of trail, which gives neighborhood access to ABOS and prevents further degradation of habitat caused by user-made ‘social trails.’ At SCOS, crews applied herbicide on 33.25 acres to combat noxious weeds, restore native vegetation, and protect the habitat of the endangered Preble’s meadow jumping mouse.
Learn more about GOCO’s CSC grant program
Durango Area Trails Alliance Climbing Stewardship
$46,500 grant to City of Durango
The City of Durango used its Conservation Service Corps grant to partner with the newly established Durango Climbers Coalition (DCC) and Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners (SCC-FC) for climbing stewardship work at Dalla Mountain Park, Animas City Mountain, and the East Animas Climbing Area. Collaborations with climbers to steward and designate climbing areas did not exist before the DCC’s establishment. With this funding, SCC-FC crews rehabilitated user-made ‘social trails,’ installed signage on climbing access routes, enhanced trails for safety and access, and installed protective fencing to reroute trails from fragile habitats and sensitive areas.
Learn more about the DCC
Engaging Private Landowners of Conserved Properties to Create Resilient Landscapes
$111,854 grant to Colorado West Land Trust
With its Stewardship Impact grant, Colorado West Land Trust (CWLT) collaborated with regional partners to create a program to engage, educate, and equip private landowners with land protection and conservation resources. Partners identified privately conserved properties in high wildfire-risk areas and advised landowners on forest treatment options and technical and financial strategies to improve forest health and fire resilience (pictured above). These efforts provide private landowners with the expertise and resources to protect their properties from fire. To treat more acreage, CWLT expanded collaboration with West Region Wildfire Council, Colorado State Forest Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Two Rivers Wildfire Coalition, Grand Mesa Watershed Resiliency Partnership, Rivers Edge West, and the Ute Water Conservancy District.
Learn more about GOCO’s Stewardship Impact grant program
Green Mountain Falls Healthy Forest
$70,736 grant to the Town of Green Mountain Falls
Working with the local fire district, private landowners, and Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range (MHYC-SFR), the Town of Green Mountain Falls (GMF) used its Conservation Service Corps grant to build a continuous, two-mile-long fuel break around the community. GMF is surrounded by public and private open spaces with many popular hiking trails, making it one of the highest fire risk zones in the country. Over eight weeks of work, MHYC-SFR crews conducted thinning and fuel reduction across 8-12 acres to restore this public open space into a more aesthetically pleasing, park-like environment with a healthy native habitat that supports local wildlife. The work builds upon previous efforts leveraging Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program (COSWAP) funding and conservation service corps crews.
Read a local press release on the project
Interpretive Trail Rehabilitation
$26,025 grant to La Plata Open Space Conservancy
La Plata Open Space Conservancy used its Conservation Service Corps grant to partner with Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners (SCC-FC) for stewardship work at the Durango Nature Center. The center’s trails became overgrown with vegetation and were impacted by flooding and erosion during the pandemic. Over three weeks, SCC-FC crews assisted with drainage work, trail rehabilitation, and installation of interpretive signage. This project returned The Nature Center to a safe and navigable destination for the thousands of residents and travelers who visit it.
Learn more about the Durango Nature Center
Lake San Cristobal – Recreation Infrastructure
$38,531 grant to Hinsdale County
With its Conservation Service Corps grant, Hinsdale County partnered with Southwest Conservation Corps-Los Valles (SCC-LV) to increase outdoor recreation at Lake San Cristobal Peninsula Park. Over four weeks, SCC-LV crews repaired picnic tables, restrooms, signs, and fire pits; removed fire rings and trash; and performed fire mitigation work at Wupperman Campground and surrounding areas. Crews also removed hazardous vegetation overgrowth at Red Mountain Gulch, which will also be developed for future tent camping. In addition, crews assisted with the installation of an ADA Fishing Pier.
Learn More about Lake San Cristobal
Cedaredge Community, Delta County and North Fork Valley Place projects
$346,852 to Nature Connection
Generation Wild community Nature Connection used Generation Wild funding to support several local projects focused on getting kids and families outdoors. Improvements were made on Delta County School District property including a new boulder and pump track near Cedaredge Elementary School, an expansion of Cedaredge Middle School’s climbing wall, new frisbee, golf, and exercise equipment on the path from Cedaredge’s middle and high schools, an outdoor archery range at Cedaredge High School, and a new shade structure at Lincoln Elementary School. In addition, four playground boulders were installed at four local schools. Developments were also made in the communities of Crawford, Paonia, and Hotchkiss. This includes a StoryWalk at Crawford State Park, trail improvements to ‘C Hill’ trail, a shade structure, boulder, and community garden at Crawford Elementary School, a StoryWalk at Delta County Fairgrounds, and a climbing boulder and outdoor classroom area at Paonia Elementary School. These projects were also supported by Delta County School District, the Town of Cedaredge, Delta Library District, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Learn more about Nature Connection
Nederland Shoreline Trails and Stewardship Project
$181,029 grant to Town of Nederland
The Town of Nederland used its Resilient Communities grant to create new trails and improve access to Barker Meadow Reservoir, one of the only open spaces parks in town. During the pandemic, the reservoir saw a 50 percent increase in visitation causing undesignated user-made ‘social trails,’ erosion, water quality concerns, and other maintenance issues. With this funding, the Town built, restored, and enhanced trails and installed dog waste stations, trash and recycling bins, benches, picnic tables, a boulder playfield, and a musical playground. In addition, the Town planted native plants and trees complete with irrigation drop lines and garden beds, and transformed a former sludge pond into a natural meadow with native grasses. The Town partnered with the local youth services nonprofit TEENS INC. for various aspects of the project.
Learn more about TEENS INC.
Perimeter Trail Cascade Falls Improvement
$17,350 grant to City of Ouray
With its Conservation Service Corps grant, the City of Ouray partnered with Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners (SCC-FC) for stewardship work at the Cascade Falls section of the Ouray Perimeter Trail. The trail is subject to erosion and rock fall due to heavy use and steep terrain, and visitors often cut across and damage resources when visiting the scenic waterfall. SCC-FC crews constructed a total of 500 feet of rope fencing to encourage visitors to stay on the designated trail and upgraded and repaired 1.4 miles of the trail damaged by rainwater and snowmelt.
Learn more about Cascade Falls
Pueblo Arkansas River Levee Trail Project
$1,238,500 grant to City of Pueblo
The City of Pueblo used its Connect grant to partner with the Pueblo Conservancy District for several community connection and safety projects on the Arkansas River Trail. The trail is a widely popular recreation area that receives visitors from Pueblo's popular 4th and Main streets, Wildhorse Creek Trail, Pueblo Reservoir, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Westside, Blocks, and Grove neighborhoods, Historic Arkansas Riverwalk, Runyon Lake, and the GOCO-supported Runyon Sports Complex. The city expanded the 25-mile trail by 2.3 miles, creating a new access point for residents and visitors from surrounding communities. A platform was created along the Arkansas River Levee as well as two pedestrian suspension bridges, decorative shade structures, benches, trash cans, bike racks, and a safety rail along the entire trail. In addition, an exit ledge near the north side of the river was installed for boaters and other river recreationists.
Read a local press release on the project
Wiley’s Great Outdoors – Creating a Master Plan for Rural Southeast Colorado
$51,000 grant to Town of Wiley
A Planning and Capacity grant supported the Town of Wiley in developing an outdoor recreation master plan. The Town hired consultants to produce the final plan and facilitate community engagement. The three-phase plan outlined outdoor recreation projects prioritized by the community and implementation funding options. Partners in this project include the Town of Wiley, the Wiley School District, the Wiley Lions Club, the Wiley Methodist Church, Prowers Economic Prosperity, and the Southern Colorado Economic Development District.
Read a local press release on the project