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 May, four projects closed, representing more than $565,000 in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:

Bee’s Preserve — Protecting Monte Vista Working Wetlands

$45,306 grant to Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust

In partnership with the Gates Family Foundation, Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) used GOCO funds to help conserve the 261-acre Bee’s Preserve property near the Town of Monte Vista. Bee’s Preserve is home to an abundance of agriculture, native plants, and wildlife including the Southwestern willow flycatcher, a federally listed endangered species. Conserving the property will also help to preserve the region’s key migration corridors, stunning natural landscape, and ranching heritage.

Check out this Facebook post from RiGHT about the Bee’s Preserve conservation effort

GoWild NE Metro — Nature Playground 

$60,000 grant to City of Commerce City

With the help of GOCO funds, the Generation Wild Northeast Metro Coalition partnered with the City of Commerce City to create a new, nature-inspired playground. The inclusive playground, which is located in Veteran’s Memorial Park, features new climbing structures, a swing bay, rocking boat, Braille panels, and sand area for a full sensory experience. The project is part of a greater mission to ensure that youth in Commerce City, northeast Aurora, and Denver’s Montbello and Northeast Park Hill neighborhoods have abundant opportunities to connect and engage with the outdoors in ways that are inspirational, transformational, and meaningful to them.

Take a tour of the new playground

Ouray School Playground Renovation

$110,000 grant to City of Ouray

The City of Ouray, in partnership with Ouray School, used GOCO funds to upgrade the school’s outdated playground. The new play space, which was designed in part by a student task force, features new swings, including an ADA-accessible bucket swing, a blacktop for games like four square, a gaga pit, an artificial turf playfield, a quiet nature zone with shade structures, a freestanding outdoor classroom, and a stage. These improvements will provide students of all ages and abilities with opportunities for nature play in new learning environments.

Read a press release about the playground’s renovation

Thumb Open Space

$350,000 grant to Town of Estes Park, Parks Division

In partnership with the Town of Estes Park and Estes Valley Land Trust (EVLT), GOCO funds were used to acquire the 65-acre Thumb Open Space on the south side of Prospect Mountain in Estes Park. Since the 1940s, the Thumb and Needle, two iconic rock features in Estes Park, have been a favorite rock climbing and hiking destination. However, private ownership had hindered public access to the area. Future improvements in effort to conserve the property will include enhancing the area’s existing facilities, adding signage, making trail improvements, additional fencing, and increased patrolling of the area.

Explore Thumb Open Space and its history