Coloradans have had their fair share of tragedy in recent years, and 2013 was no exception. In the face of things we can't control—like natural disasters and senseless violence— isn't it comforting to know there are organizations working to make life better in Colorado?

In 2013, GOCO continued its work helping local governments and land trusts preserve and enhance parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces across the state. All without any tax dollar support. This year alone, GOCO helped:

  • create 16 new play yards and outdoor learning areas that benefit more than 6,000 school kids in communities large and small
  • protect more than 68,000 acres of wildlife habitat for big game and other species
  • open Staunton State Park, a new 3,828-acre state park within 40 miles of Denver
  • develop numerous community recreation facilities (like school playgrounds, skate parks, bike parks and ice rinks) and plans for future outdoor recreation opportunities
  • protect more than 40,000 acres of open space
  • leverage nearly $30 million in matching funds for projects awarded GOCO grants

Additionally, the GOCO board announced it is making up to $5 million in emergency grant funds available to help flood-ravaged communities restore damaged or destroyed parks, trails and open spaces. Communities in the 11 counties declared federal disaster areas following the mid-September floods are eligible to apply for the special GOCO grants, which will be awarded in April 2014. Get more information on our Flood Recovery grants.

Finally, our board awarded $500,000 in youth corps grants at its December meeting that will engage hundreds of youth this summer in vital fire mitigation work as well as trail construction, invasive species removal and river bank restoration. This is in addition to another $500,000 in GOCO money that Colorado Parks and Wildlife uses to hire youth corps crews. Among the new grants is a project to help Royal Gorge Park recover from the devastating fire this past year. Read more about our continued support of Colorado youth corps.

All in all, 2013 saw great things happen for the state of Colorado. We'll work hard to ensure this continues in the new year.

For a snapshot of GOCO's work in 2013, download our annual report.