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 5,400 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 July and August, 12 projects were completed, representing more than $4.4 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Aragon Ranch - COL’s Acequia Initiative (Phase II): Working to Conserve Colorado’s Oldest Agricultural Communities
$87,900 grant to Colorado Open Lands
Colorado Open Lands (COL) used GOCO funds to help conserve Aragon Ranch as part of their Acequia Conservation Initiative to protect Colorado’s oldest farms and agricultural settlements in the southern San Luis Valley. Along with several others, this property extends perpendicular to acequias which were designed to maximize the number of people with access to water for irrigation, livestock, and farming. Aragon Ranch was traditionally used for agriculture and is currently used for hay production and cattle grazing. The ranch’s agricultural operation includes some of Colorado’s most senior water rights as it’s irrigated with water from several acequias in the region including the Labato 1, Labato 2, and the Joes Lobato. The property also contains diverse plant communities that provide habitat for elk, mule deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and other wildlife.
Arrowpoint Ranch - Heart of Arkansas Conservation Initiative
$500,000 grant to Central Colorado Conservancy
With the help of GOCO funds, Central Colorado Conservancy acquired a conservation easement on Arrowpoint Ranch. Conservation of the 600-acre property supports its many values, including providing scenic open space and natural habitats of river shrubland, pinyon-juniper woodlands, grasslands, and irrigated pastures. These habitats support big game species such as elk, mule, deer, moose, black bear, mountain lion, and several wildlife species of state concern including the bald eagle, ferruginous hawk, American peregrine falcon, and the northern leopard frog. The property is part of the scenic viewshed of the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway and visible from both the Arkansas River and adjoining public lands administered by the BLM, including Browns Canyon National Monument.
Read more about the Heart of the Arkansas Initiative
Atlas Prep 5-12
$106,640 grant to the City of Colorado Springs
Atlas Preparatory High School is a community gathering place and provides many services beyond a traditional education to its students and families. With the help of GOCO’s School Yard Initiative funds, Atlas Prep and the City of Colorado Springs partnered to build a playground, a walking trail, shade structures, and intergenerational physical activity components on the site of their new school campus. The project components are directly tied to feedback from Atlas students and community members.
Cleland Parks ADA Playground 2020
$307,059 grant to the City of Delta
The City of Delta used a Local Park & Outdoor Recreation grant from GOCO to replace a 30-year old playground that was deemed outdated, unsafe, and unusable. Updates included wheelchair-accessible ramping, a wheelchair glider, slides, a merry-go-round, an inclusive zip line, a wheelchair-specific swing, climbing features, a sensory maze, and musical instrument stations. Cleland Park gathers an average of 40 to 50 people a day, and no other park within 40 miles offers a playground with ADA components.
Read more about the project
$2,500,000 grant to Aspen Valley Land Trust (AVLT)
The AVLT in partnership with Pitkin County, Garfield County, and the Town of Carbondale, used GOCO funds to acquire Coffman Ranch. The 141-acre ranch runs along the Roaring Fork River and boasts 35 acres of wetlands and high-quality riparian woodland-shrubland habitat. Under the ownership of Aspen Valley Land Trust, Coffman Ranch will provide numerous community engagement opportunities and outdoor experiences, including youth field trips, habitat restoration projects, a public hiking trail, and river access for fishing and recreation.
Learn more about Coffman Ranch
East Plum Creek Restoration Partnership
$150,000 grant to Douglas County Conservation District
In partnership with the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF), Douglas County used its Habitat Restoration grant to help improve nearly one mile of the East Plum Creek, which runs through Lowell Ranch, private ranch property and working agricultural education center. The streambank was stabilized to reduce sediment contribution from eroding stream banks, and partners used natural elements such as rocks, logs, and vegetation to mitigate against stream migration. The creek functions as a central wildlife corridor connecting thousands of preserved acres and was essential in providing habitat for native species including the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse.
Read more about the partnership
Greeley Urban Natural Areas Habitat Restoration
$67,700 grant to the City of Greeley
With the help of GOCO funds, the City of Greeley restored 96 acres of upland and riparian habitat on three city-owned natural areas along Sheep Draw Creek. By reducing non-native and invasive plant species and increasing the diversity of native plant species like grass, shrubs, and forbs, the City of Greeley improved habitat value with a focus on pollinator and avian species. Contractors, city staff, Weld County Youth Conservation Corps, and community youth and adult volunteers took part. The project was also used as a learning laboratory for a local K-7 STEM academy that actively participates in all aspects of the restoration effort.
Read more about the project
Kullerstrand Elementary School Playground
$110,000 grant to the City of Wheat Ridge
With funds from a School Yard Initiative grant from GOCO, the City of Wheat Ridge and Kullertrand Elementary School replaced its 20-year-old playground with more age-appropriate equipment. The school added preschool for the 2020-2021 school year, and the grant funded a new outdoor classroom with a preschool-specific structure, ADA accessible components, and a custom nature-play structure for older students.
Read the local press release
Lower South Platte Wetlands Partnership
$142,561 grant to Colorado Open Lands
With the help of GOCO funds, Colorado Open Lands (COL) performed wetland restoration and enhancement activities along 180 acres of the South Platte River. The work focused on the development of shallow-water seasonal wetland areas that provide foraging sites for thousands of ducks, geese, and other birds that use the complex every spring and fall.
Quintana Ranch- COL’s Acequia Initiative: Working to Conserve Colorado’s Oldest Agricultural Communities
$152,400 grant to Colorado Open Lands
Colorado Open Lands (COL) used GOCO funds to help conserve Quintana Ranch as part of its Acequia Conservation Initiative, the purpose of which is to protect Colorado’s oldest farms and agricultural settlements in the southern San Luis Valley. Along with several others, this property extends perpendicular to acequias which were designed to help maximize the number of people with access to water for irrigation, livestock, and farming. Quintana Ranch is irrigated with water from the Francisco Sanchez Ditch, which carries one of Colorado’s oldest water rights. The 146.17-acre ranch supports riparian forests and wetlands, irrigated hayfields, and sagebrush shrublands that provide habitat for elk, mule deer, black bear, wild turkey, and numerous small mammal and avian species.
Learn more about COL's work with acequias
RFMA Outdoor School Yard
$110,000 grant to Adams County
Adams County and Ricardo Flores Magon Academy used a School Yard Initiative grant from GOCO to replace the outdated, unsafe playground. The new and improved playground includes natural climbing and balancing structures, swings, an outdoor classroom, and community garden beds. The Academy is a community gathering place that now provides a safe and accessible place to play.
Roybal Ranch- COL’s Acequia Initiative: Working to Conserve Colorado’s Oldest Agricultural Communities
$202,000 grant to Colorado Open Lands
Colorado Open Lands used GOCO funds to help conserve Roybal Ranch as part of its Acequia Conservation Initiative, protecting Colorado’s oldest farms and agricultural settlements in the southern San Luis Valley. The 215-acre ranch contains diverse plant communities, including riparian forests and wetlands, irrigated hayfields, and sagebrush shrublands that support a wide variety of wildlife including elk, mule deer, black bear, wild turkey, and numerous small mammals and birds. The Roybal Ranch is irrigated with water delivered via the Francisco Sanchez Acequia and the San Acacio Acequia. Irrigation of agricultural land using the acequias helps maintain historic and cultural traditions in Costilla County.