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 28 years, GOCO has improved Colorado’s great outdoors with the help of Colorado Lottery proceeds. We’ve put more than $1.3 billion in proceeds back into 5,300 projects to improve the lives of Coloradans across the state.

After projects are awarded funding, grant recipients have about two years to make their projects happen. 

In April, six projects closed, representing more than $1.4 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:

Bear Creek Greenback Cutthroat Trout Restoration Initiative

$52,725 grant to City of Colorado Springs

The City of Colorado Springs used its GOCO grant to improve and restore more than three-quarters of a mile of in-stream habitat within the lower Bear Creek watershed in El Paso County. A 2012 study revealed that the greenback cutthroat trout population in Bear Creek was the last remaining, naturally reproducing, and genetically pure population of the fish anywhere in the world. Funds were used to restore and stabilize degraded sections of the stream, reduce harmful sediment, revegetate the area, and increase species resiliency to ensure the survival of this unique population.

Read the full scope of the greenback recovery effort

Cal-Wood Lodge Renovation Planning Project

$36,150 grant to Boulder County

Since 1982, Cal-Wood in Jamestown has provided immersive environmental education programs to Colorado youth and families. With its GOCO Planning grant, Boulder County created a plan to address the need to expand the lodge’s capacity and meet increased demand for programming. Funds were used to procure a schematic design of the expansion project, design development, construction documents, permitting submittals, process administration, among other services. The vision for the lodge includes safety and sustainability upgrades, a new sprinkler system, a gear library to provide increased access to outdoor recreation opportunities, and an expanded dining hall/classroom space. 

Explore Cal-Wood’s summer and family outdoor programming

LOVA South Canyon Trail- Part 2

$62,100 grant to Town of New Castle

The Town of New Castle used GOCO funds to plan and design a 4.7-mile section of the LOVA trail through South Canyon between Glenwood Springs and New Castle. The plan includes GIS maps, an environmental assessment, structural designs, and estimated construction costs. The segment will provide local communities with increased safety and connectivity. Additionally, the LOVA Trail is part of former Governor John Hickenlooper’s “Colorado the Beautiful Initiative,” which aims to expand access to trails and outdoor spaces, create new opportunities for outdoor recreation, and help connect more Coloradans with nature. 

Find out more about the Colorado the Beautiful Initiative

Merging in Response to the Pandemic

$55,300 grant to Colorado West Land Trust

Colorado West Land Trust (CWLT) used its GOCO Resilient Communities Program grant to help facilitate a merger between CWLT and Black Canyon Land Trust to create one entity under the CWLT name. The two organizations had worked closely for years on conservation projects, however due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trusts determined a merger to be the best solution for streaming work and allocating resources. A working group made up of board members from both organizations guided the direction of the merger. Collectively, the two land trusts hold 550 conservation easements, protecting more than 120,000 acres of land across six counties. The merger will help reduce costs, increase staff capacity, and create operating efficiencies. 

Read CWLT’s merger announcement

TD Ranch Preserve

$854,014 grant to Pitkin County

With its GOCO Open Space grant, Pitkin County acquired a 409-acre inholding located in the center of Colorado’s Thompson Divide. The Thompson Divide is 220,000 acres of rugged back country situated in America’s most heavily recreated National Forest and was named “Colorado’s Crown Jewel” by former Governor John Hickenlooper. The TD Ranch Preserve, which lies within a Colorado Natural Heritage Area, is comprised of aspen meadows and ponds, and boasts an array of cottonwood, blue spruce, and alder trees. The property is valued for its rich biodiversity, its pristine wetland habitat, and its exceptional elk calving and fawning grounds.

Learn more about TD Ranch Preserve’s landscape and history

Town of Nucla Arena Improvement Project

$350,000 grant to Town of Nucla

The Town of Nucla used its GOCO Local Parks and Outdoor Recreation (LPOR) grant to begin phase I of a new outdoor arena for livestock shows, agricultural education, and rodeo competitions. The old facility, which hadn’t been open to the public for more than 20 years, was demolished and rebuilt. The new space includes equestrian riding and warm-up arenas, pens for livestock, a concession stand, a judges’ booth, and updated restrooms and bleachers. 

Get the latest project updates on the Nucla Rodeo Arena’s Facebook page