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 30 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 5,600 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, 12 projects were completed, representing more than $2,360,732 in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:

Baker’s Park Trail System- Phase One

$19,057 grant to San Juan County 

With the help of a GOCO Conservation Service Corps grant, San Juan County partnered with Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners to build Phase One of Baker’s Park Trail System in Silverton. Corps crews constructed a trailhead parking lot, cleared corridors, scattered woody debris, and finished 10 miles of trail work. Once all phases are completed, the project will feature 24 miles of shared-use singletrack for bikers and pedestrians and six miles of one-way trails for mountain biking. This project is a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management, the Town of Silverton, the Silverton Singletrack Society, IMBA, and local businesses.
Learn more about the project

Dolores River Restoration

$15,149 grant to Mesa County

With its Conservation Service Corps grant, Mesa County hired chainsaw crews from Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) to treat and/or remove a total of 20.5 acres of invasive tamarisk along the Dolores River. Crews reduced the number of invasive plants narrowing the river channel, improving the overall ecosystem of the Dolores River by reducing the competition for native plant species, reducing the risk of fire, and improving animal habitat. The project was conducted by the Dolores River Restoration Partnership with leadership from Mesa County, RiversEdge West, the Bureau of Land Management, and Southwest Conservation Corps.
Learn more about WCCC

Eastern Slope & Plains Wildlife Prioritization Study

$54,000 grant to Colorado Parks and Wildlife

With its Conservation Excellence grant, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) teamed up to launch the Eastern Slope and Plains Wildlife Prioritization Study aimed at reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions and improving wildlife connectivity. Building on previous efforts, the study identified priority wildlife-highway conflict areas and migration needs across the Eastern Slope and Plains. It enables the state agencies and their partners to collaboratively prioritize, design, and construct cost-effective wildlife migration projects where they will have the greatest benefit to wildlife and public safety.
Learn more about the project

East Plum Creek Restoration Partnership

$24,150 grant to Douglas County Conservation District

Douglas County Conservation District used its Conservation Service Corps grant to hire a Mile High Youth Corps crew for four weeks of river restoration work along East Plum Creek. Crews regraded, contoured, and revegetated stream banks and damaged floodplains, adding to work previously completed on the creek over the last three years. Crews also planted approximately 5,000 native river and other aquatic plants to improve the creek’s water system and wildlife habitat. In addition, an herbicide crew worked on a one-mile stretch of the creek through Lowell Ranch. This project helped partners control noxious weeds, increase native plant diversity, improve habitat for river wildlife, and create a better functioning stream system.
Learn more about the project

Mitigation and Removal of Invasive & Fire Hazard Trees

$28,350 grant to the City of Cortez

The City of Cortez used its Conservation Service Corps grant to hire a Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners (SCC-FC) crew to remove invasive tamarisk and Russian olive from 186 acres across Denny Lake Park, Greer Natural Area, and Carpenter Natural Area. Before this work, an estimated 300 invasive trees consumed the water and space needed for native vegetation and made it difficult for the community to access fishing ponds at the sites. Their removal helped the City of Cortez manage the environment and cleared the way for the planting of native plants to provide habitat for native wildlife plants. It also improves recreational access for walking, hiking, fishing, and biking. This project is a partnership between Montezuma County Weed Control, Cortez Fire Protection District, the City of Cortez, and SCC-FC.
Read a local press release on the project

Pinyon Mesa Headwaters Restoration Project

$48,326 grant to Colorado West Land Trust

With its Conservation Service Corps grant, Colorado West Land Trust hired a Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) crew to work on the Headwaters Restoration Project at Pinyon Mesa. Crews installed water structures in meadows and stream corridors, removed invasive vegetation from river and stream areas, applied native grass seeds, removed derelict fencing, and stimulated aspen growth, among other tasks. The project improved the water quality and amount delivered to the Colorado River, contributed to invasive vegetation control efforts, and enhanced habitat for Gunnison sage grouse and other native wildlife. 

This project is a multi-year collaboration between Colorado West Land Trust, Mountain Island Ranch, Trout Unlimited, the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and RiversEdge West. 
Read a local press release on the project

Purgatoire-Cucharas Collaborative Forest Health & Stewardship Project

$28,350 grant to City of Trinidad

The City of Trinidad used its Conservation Service Corps grant to hire a Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range crew to restore forest lands and reduce wildfire risk in Las Animas and Huerfano counties. In support of the Purgatoire-Cucharas Collaborative Forest Health Stewardship Project (PCCFHSP), crews worked on over 32 acres of national forest land and five acres of municipal forest land. This project reduced wildfire risk to the Cucharas River watersheds, local communities, and the drinking water supplies of the Purgatoire River.

The PCCFHSP is a collaborative effort among young adult and veteran crews, volunteers, U.S. Forest Service staff and firefighters, and an adult crew of local community members who work on stewardship projects across two watersheds as part of a broad-scale effort.
Learn more about GOCO’s Conservation Service Corps program

Schaefer Farms

$15,000 grant to Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust

With GOCO funding, the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) and Colorado Open Lands (COL)  acquired a conservation easement on the 638-acre Shaefer Farms. Its permanent protection preserves the scenic views of the local rural landscape, the San Juan Mountains, and the Rio Grande river corridor. This project is part of RiGHT’s and COL’s “Protecting Monte Vista Working Wetlands,” initiative to conserve over  1,150 acres of wetland and foraging habitat that supports important migratory bird and big game populations near Monte Vista. The initiative contributes to the 3,000 acres of conserved private lands along the Rio Grande river that provide an important elk production area as well as 115 acres of Yellow-billed cuckoo and Southwestern Willow flycatcher habitat. It also supports the conservation of the Greater Sandhill Crane habitat, a bird celebrated annually at the San Luis Valley’s largest tourism event, the Monte Vista Crane Festival.
Learn more about the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust

Transaction Cost Assistance Program

$500,000 grant to Keep It Colorado 

With funding support from GOCO’s Resilient Communities Grant Program, Keep It Colorado (KIC) established and administered the Transaction Cost Assistance Program (TCAP). The program helps land trusts and landowners cover the high costs associated with completing a conservation easement, which often poses barriers for landowners to engage in conservation options. Through the program, KIC created an accessible pool of funding and a process to select projects with the greatest urgency and conservation outcomes. This funding supported KIC in completing two competitive grant rounds and awarded transaction cost assistance to 14 conservation easement projects across eight land trusts.
Learn more about the TCAP program

Tucker Open Space Property

$1,250,000 grant to Boulder County

With its Open Space grant, Boulder County acquired the 323-acre Tucker Open Space Property located in Arapaho National Forest. Boulder County completed the acquisition in 2020 and donated the property rights via a conservation easement to Colorado Open Lands in 2022. The property connects county open space and privately conserved land to Forest Service lands, Indian Peaks Wilderness, and to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Its protection assures the property can never be developed and preserves the critical habitat and high biodiversity on the site and surrounding land. Tucker Open Space is publicly accessible.
Read a local press release on the project

West Gunnison Neighborhood Park Project

$350,000 grant to City of Gunnison 

With its Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant, the City of Gunnison developed the 10-acre Lazy K Park (pictured above) to provide direct access to recreational activities, wildlife viewing, and natural vegetation. Its nature-themed playground features ADA-accessible walking trails that provide access to the Gunnison River and open space.
Learn more about Gunnison parks

Wet Mountains Junkins Fire Recovery and Mitigation

$28,350 grant to San Isabel Land Protection Trust

San Isabel Land Protection Trust used its Conservation Service Corps grant to hire a Mile High Youth Corps crew to work on wildfire recovery and fire mitigation work on the conserved Wet Mountain Ranch, Lonesome Valley Ranch, and Stillpoint Ranch in Custer County. Crews sprayed and removed noxious weeds, and planted conifer saplings, and other tasks in an effort to regenerate a biodiverse forest in the burn scar and reduce the risk of high-intensity fires on 75-100 acres. 
Learn more about Mile High Youth Corps