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 29 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 5,500 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, 18 projects were completed, representing more than $9.2 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Balsam Park Enhancements
$350,000 grant to the City of Greeley
The City of Greeley used its Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant to improve Balsam Park. The park now boasts a new nature playground, path connections that form a looped trail, four new covered shelters, and several hundred new plants, trees, and shrubs. The park's play features include log crawls, a bear cave, a water feature, climbing logs, and nature interactive play areas all connected by soft surface pathways.
Learn more about the project
Borrego Ranch Conservation Easement
$50,000 grant to Palmer Land Conservancy
With funding through GOCO’s Transaction Costs Program, Palmer Land Conservancy protected the 637-acre Borrego Ranch located in Fremont County. The program helps facilitate donated conservation easement projects that would not otherwise be successful in the face of prohibitive transaction costs for the landowner. This effort supported the permanent conservation of the property’s natural habitat, ecosystems, open space, and scenic views including its unique topography of rock outcrops, wooded hillsides, open meadows, and river areas along nearly a mile of the Currant Creek. These features provide habitat for a variety of wildlife including elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, raptors, songbirds, waterbirds, and small mammals. The property also boasts irrigated farmland, pasture for livestock, and soils designated as agriculturally significant by the Department of Agriculture.
Learn more about Borrego Ranch
Bringing the Outdoors In: Building an Environmental Education Center on the Rio
$265,680 grant to Alamosa County
In partnership with the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition and the Rio Grande Farm Park (RGFP), Alamosa County used its Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant to construct an Environmental Education Center. The center serves youth in the community and teaches about regenerative agriculture and the importance of carbon-reducing practices. This project builds on previous GOCO investments and a recently completed nature play area funded by the Colorado Health Foundation. The center is located at the RGFP, which is within walking distance to over 4,000 residents and is connected to the Alamosa Trail System consisting of 11 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Learn more about the RGFP
Centerville- Heart of the Arkansas
$300,000 grant to Central Colorado Conservancy
In partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), Central Colorado Conservancy permanently protected Centerville Ranch. Located north of Salida in Chaffee County, this 650-acre ranch contains woodlands, wetlands, and meadows that provide food, shelter, breeding ground, and migration corridors for various wildlife species like elk, deer, bears, and birds. Its protection helped CPW establish a wildlife crossing structure on either side of Highway 285, which supports wildlife movement and migration throughout the region. Centerville Ranch is part of the larger Heart of the Arkansas GOCO grant, awarded to protect 2,370 acres of agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and scenic views along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway Highway.
Learn more about Central Colorado Conservancy's projects
CUSP Field Crew
$136,168 grant to the Coalition for the Upper South Platte
The Upper South Platte River watershed experienced increased visitation in 2020 and 2021. With this Resilient Communities grant, the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) developed a three person field crew to complete forest health, fire mitigation, habitat restoration, recreation management, and weed mitigation projects at the watershed. Composed of individuals left unemployed or underemployed due to the pandemic, field crew members participated in training and certification programs to learn transferable skills for future employment. CUSP also leveraged volunteers to supplement the work of the field crew and expand the on-the-ground impact over the field season.
Read a local press release about the project
Douglas Mountain Ranch and Preserve
$541,295 grant to Mountain Area Land Trust
With funding support from Friends of Clear Creek, Clear Creek County Open Space, and a GOCO land acquisition grant, Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) helped Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) acquire Douglas Mountain Ranch. This acquisition allowed CPWto expand the Georgetown State Wildlife Area. The 123-acre property located in Clear Creek County protects critical habitat for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and boasts a wildlife overpass that supports the movement of elk, deer, moose, and other wildlife over Highway 40, a heavily traveled corridor providing wildlife viewing opportunities for the public. The property also provides public access to fishing and connection to the Clear Creek Greenway trail.
Learn more about the project
Falcon Regional Park Improvements (Phase II)
$350,000 grant to El Paso County
With its Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant, El Paso County constructed new amenities within Falcon Regional Park. These included a new baseball field, softball field, multi-purpose field, playgrounds, pavilions, restrooms, and a parking lot. Construction was completed between December 2020 and December 2021.
Learn more about the park
Glacier Farm- Putting Conserved Land and People to Work for Community
$127,292 grant to Crested Butte Land Trust
In partnership with Mountain Roots Food Project, Crested Butte Land Trust (CBLT) used its Resilient Communities grant to pursue a conservation initiative that highlights the value of CBLT’s conserved lands for community food production. This project was in response to an urgent need to build resilient food systems and improve community resilience through local food supply. The partners directly employed local youth for land management projects, including fence building and removal, water delivery, crop production, and a myriad of other activities to support the next generation of land managers that will maintain the valley’s balance between conservation and recreation.
Learn more about Glacier Farm
JCOS and OSMP Lippincott Ranch Joint Land Acquisition
$1,000,000 grant to Jefferson County
With an open space grant, Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) and the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) jointly acquired Lippincott Ranch. The 424-acre property along the Boulder and Jefferson counties border is part of the federally-designated Front Range Mountain Backdrop-Foreground Preservation Area and is considered a high biodiversity area by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. Boasting wetlands, river habitat, and xeric tallgrass prairie, the property is home to rare and sensitive plants and animals including species of greatest conservation need determined by Colorado Parks & Wildlife's State Wildlife Action Plan and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Comprehensive Conservation Plan. Conservation of the property contributes to the scenic viewshed, spanning over 86,000 acres of conserved and public lands across the Front Range.
Read a Jeffco press release about the acquisition
$502,910 grant to the City of Lamar
The City of Lamar used its Generation Wild program grant to fund improvements and amenities at North Gateway Park, Escondido Park, and a sports complex playground. Funding helped support concession stands, fire pits, picnic areas, restrooms, shaded areas, outdoor education programs and events, campsites, accessible finish piers, equipment rentals, and more. These projects help break down barriers to the outdoors and make nature areas safe, accessible, and enjoyable for residents of and visitors to Lamar.
Learn more about the City of Lamar
Laramie Foothills Mountains to Plains 2020 Expansion Project
$594,475 grant to Larimer County
In partnership with the City of Fort Collins, Larimer County completed the Laramie Foothills Mountains to Plains 2020 Expansion Project with the permanent protection of the Quarter Circle Lazy H Ranch (QCLHR) and Hawk Canyon Ranch (HCR). Located west of Livermore, QCLHR spans 428 acres, and HCR, located between Red Mountain Open Space and Colorado State University’s Maxwell Ranch Research Facility, spans 1,091 acres. Together, QCLHR and HCR protect 1,519 acres that boast grasslands, mountain shrublands, and river areas that provide year-round and migratory habitat for deer, bears, mountain lions, elk, coyotes, birds, and other small mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates. Both properties are part of the larger Laramie Foothills Mountains to Plains priority conservation area, comprising over 60,000 acres of conserved land near the Colorado and Wyoming state border.
Learn about the history of the project
My Outdoor Colorado-Genesee Park
$300,000 grant to the City and County of Denver
Supported by the City and County of Denver, Generation Wild’s My Outdoor Colorado coalition enhanced existing facilities at the backcountry open space Genesee Park by increasing its accessibility to youth and families. Improvements included the additions of cooking and cleaning areas, community gathering spaces, running water, bathrooms, easy ropes course access, fire pits, and shelter with picnic tables. In addition, this funding also supported improvements to a campground at the Genesee Experiential Outdoor Education Center in Genesee Park. Improvements were made to tent and yurt camping sites, group campfire areas, group gathering areas, bus drop-off and pick-up loop, shade structure and picnic pavilion, equipment storage, and restrooms.
Learn more about Genesee Mountain Park
My Outdoor Colorado-Weir Gulch
$88,000 grant to the City and County of Denver
Supported by the City and County of Denver, Generation Wild’s My Outdoor Colorado coalition transformed Weir Gulch into a valued recreational, environmental, and educational amenity within Denver’s Westwood neighborhood. Improvements included mile markers, a low water crossing, signage and crosswalk safety improvements, and a pocket nature play area that features logs, boulders, shade structures, and bi-lingual signage. Entry features to this inclusive outdoor space were added to Alameda Avenue and Sheridan Blvd, and a soft surface loop provides gulch access for families and users. In addition, natural outdoor seating provides opportunities for an informal outdoor classroom.
Learn more about My Outdoor Colorado
Outdoor Stewardship Needs in the City of Boulder
$134,735 grant to the City of Boulder
The City of Boulder suffered revenue shortfalls while also experiencing dramatic increases in visitation through the pandemic. This resulted in natural resource damage from visitors leaving trash and hiking off trails. With its Resilient Communities grant, the City of Boulder managed the impacts of recreation at the north end of the popular Boulder Reservoir. This funding employed a temporary seasonal team and a youth corps crew to manage stewardship activities at the reservoir. The city also installed nearly one mile of fencing to keep visitors out of sensitive habitat areas and provided vegetation management to reduce the spread of invasive weeds.
Learn more about Boulder Reservoir
Palisade Plunge Phase II Construction
$1,238,500 grant to Mesa County
Mesa County used its Connect grant to complete phase two of the Palisade Plunge construction. This consisted of building 14.75 miles of natural surface trail for pedestrians, equestrians, and mountain bikers from the existing parking lot on the top of the Grand Mesa, down to the beginning of the Phase 1 portion of the trail at Lands End Road. This final section of the trail completed the entire 32-mile multi-modal trail known as the Palisade Plunge located across the top of the Grand Mesa and connects to the Colorado River and the Town of Palisade.
Learn more about the Palisade Plunge
Peaks to Plains Trail- Mouth of Clear Creek Canyon Segment
$2,000,000 grant to Jefferson County
Jefferson County used its Connect grant to construct an approximately 1.75-mile segment of the Peaks to Plains Trail at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon. In addition, a pedestrian bridge and two parking lots were built to accommodate trail usage, and improvements were made to a section of the Chimney Gulch Trail where it departs the Peaks to Plains Trail and heads toward the future Welch Ditch Trail.
Learn about the Peaks to Plains Trail
Shur View/ Missile Site Bluffs Open Space
$1,250,000 grant to the Trust for Public Land
With its land acquisition grant, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) partnered with the City of Greeley to purchase the 978-acre Shur View/ Missile Site Bluffs Open Space property. Located along the Cache La Poudre River, the property boasts over a third of a mile of shoreline and bluffs that overlook the river and provide scenic views of the Rocky Mountains. This summer, project partners will deploy a community visioning process for residents to share their vision for the outdoor recreation destination. The site will protect important wildlife habitats, address equitable access to the outdoors, and provide opportunities for youth employment through the CORE community outreach strategy. TPL and partners will work closely with the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) to help design trails on the property. They will also work with the Weld County Youth Corps to bring youth to work alongside TPL to help capture the community's vision.
Read more about the acquisition
The Nature Connection- Cedaredge Connecting Trail
$11,704 grant to Delta County
Supported by Delta County, The Nature Connection used this Generation Wild funding to develop a short connecting trail in the Town of Cedaredge. The trail expanded the current municipal trail system and connected the middle and high schools with the elementary school. The new 4,250-foot-long soft surface path provides kids and families access to other attractions in Cedaredge and creates a safer alternative to walking or biking to school along Highway 65. This funding also helped make improvements to the trail that already connected the middle and high schools.
Learn more about The Nature Connection