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 $1.3 billion in proceeds back into 5,500 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 October, 21 projects were completed, representing more than $1.9 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Alamosa Trails Stewardship Project
$27,150 grant to the City of Alamosa
With an increase in trail and river recreation due to COVID-19, the city of Alamosa used its GOCO grant to work with a Southwest Conservation Corps crew on several stewardship projects. Crew members repaired tread and built footbridges along 5.3 miles of trail at Alamosa City Ranch. At Alamosa Riparian Park, they rerouted 1,000 feet of trail and revegetated the closed portion of the trail. On both properties, crews worked to control the spread of invasive species like thistle, knapweed, and puncture vine.
Learn more about Southwest Conservation Corps
$63,928 grant to the Town of Alma
With the help of GOCO funds, The Town of Alma in partnership with the Alma Foundation developed the Riverwalk Trail and Park. Partners established a one-mile foot trail and boardwalk along the Middle Fork of the South Platte River with dock viewing areas, two trailheads, parking, interpretive signage, shade structures, and an outdoor learning and picnic area. This project helps protect 21 acres of wetland and river ecosystems and is accessible for all ages and abilities. It is the only ADA trail and river access within 30 miles of the town.
Bessemer Academy Play Yard Initiative
$110,000 grant to the City of Pueblo
Bessemer Academy and the City of Pueblo used GOCO funds to build a new all-inclusive playground. The school upgraded its existing garden and new playground features include interactive play panels, accessible surfacing, ramps, decks, slides, and a climbing wall. The project increases outdoor recreation for students of all abilities as it is the first K-5 playground at Bessemer Academy.
Read More About the Project
City of La Junta Parks, Recreation & Trails Master Plan
$75,000 grant to the City of La Junta
The City of La Junta used its GOCO grant to develop a Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan. The plan included an assessment and inventory of current parks and recreation facilities and programs, robust community engagement, an accessibility assessment, a trail development plan, and a demographic-based GIS review to update mapping. This master plan helped the city prioritize projects and develop a vision statement to support goals and guide the direction of future parks and programming.
Read the Master Plan
Colorado Advancing Conservation Excellence Initiative
$100,000 grant to Colorado Open Lands
The Land Trust Alliance (LTA) in partnership with Colorado Open Lands used its GOCO grant to provide capacity-building services to land trusts in efforts to increase impact and long-term sustainability. The services addressed levers for organizational growth such as leadership skills, governance, fundraising, risk management, technical expertise, strategic conservation planning, donor retention, and community engagement. In addition, the initiative offers expert coaching, grants, scholarships, and direct services tailored to each participating organization's needs.
Learn More About LTA
Durango Area Trails Alliance Stewardship Collaboration
$30,920 grant to the City of Durango
During COVID-19, the City of Durango experienced staff layoffs, hiring freezes, and budget cuts. To keep maintenance up during capacity constraints, the City of Durango, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and La Plata County, hired Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) crews to conduct stewardship projects at Dalla Mountain Park, Overend Mountain Park, and Horse Gulch. Crews restored and improved over seven miles of social trails, improved access to climbing sites, installed wayfinding and educational signage, repaired and replaced damaged bridges, and conducted basic trail maintenance.
Learn More About SCC
Fishers Peak Ranch Master Plan
$75,000 grant to the City of Trinidad
A GOCO planning grant helped the City of Trinidad, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy, fund a Fisher’s Peak Ranch master plan. Fishers Peak State Park is owned and operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The first planning phase launch served as a catalyst and accelerator to ensure that recreation opportunities and conservation would be balanced at the 19,200-acre property. In addition, a community visioning process has been conducted to secure stakeholder input on preferred future uses of the property.
Learn More About Fishers Peak
Grand Junction Parks and Open Space Master Plan
$56,250 grant to the City of Grand Junction
The City of Grand Junction used its GOCO planning grant to update its 18-year-old Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. The plan served as a guiding document for developing a parks and recreation system and for providing vision, goals, and clear objectives to adequately represent the city’s changing demographics and priorities.
Read the Master Plan
John Griffin Regional Park Fire Mitigation Project
$41,800 grant to Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District (CCRPD)
CCRPD used its GOCO grant to employ a Mile High Youth Corps crew to remove dead and fallen cottonwood trees from John Griffin Regional Park. The focus was a five-acre section of the park, and cut trees were converted into firewood and mulch. The four-week project supported the ecological health of the 80-acre nature area and was critical to mitigating the threat of fire during dry conditions.
Learn More about the District
Las Colonias Park River Recreation
$350,000 grant to the City of Grand Junction
With its GOCO grant, the City of Grand Junction further developed the 140-acre Las Colonias Park by adding an inlet channel and an extension of the existing slough with recreational elements, revegetation, and interpretative signage. This restored the river habitat and increased the recreational use of the riverfront by providing river access to the Grand Junction community that hasn’t existed there for the last 80 years.
Learn More About the Park
Montaña Azul Park Phase I
$347,794 grant to the City of Alamosa
The city of Alamosa used GOCO funds to build several recreational amenities for the Montaña Azul communities. This included a U12 size irrigated soccer field, a quarter-miler crusher fine walking track, a concrete basketball court, landscaping, parking, pavilion, shade structures, and an adaptive playground.
Read the News Release
Nisley Playground Project
$110,000 grant to the City of Grand Junction
Nisley Elementary in partnership with the City of Grand Junction used its School Yard Initiative grant to improve its 61-year old outdated playground. They removed pea gravel and added swings, accessible ramps, sensory panels, fitness stations, and landscaping.
Read the News Release
Paonia River Park Expansion Project
$55,350 grant to Delta County
In partnership with the Nature Connection, the Town of Paonia, and the Western Slope Conservation Center, Delta County employed a crew from Western Colorado Conservation Corps to build a trail that runs from Paonia River Park to Paonia Junior/Senior High School. The route was an informally established social trail and the newly constructed 2,640-foot soft-surface trail provides better access to the park and more opportunities for outdoor and environmental education for the school’s students. The crew also cleared invasive Russian olive and tamarisk species along 117 acres of Gunnison River habitat at the park along the trail.
Purgatoire River Trails, Trees & Wildlife
$40,330 grant to the City of Trinidad
With GOCO funds, the City of Trinidad established The Purgatoire River Trails, Trees & Wildlife Project to restore river health, enhance wildlife habitat, and increase recreational opportunities and public engagement. The city hired a crew from Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) to build a new trail connecting the Trinidad Riverwalk to a new recreation area that was previously difficult to access. The crew expanded river access by clearing trees and invasive species and created a space for wildlife viewing in partnership with Forever Our Rivers. MHYC continues to conduct routine maintenance and fire mitigation work there.
Read the News Release
Settler's Creek Hazardous Fuels Reduction
$20,900 grant to Summit County
With the help of GOCO funds, Summit County hired a Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crew to work on reducing wildfire hazards on Settler’s Creek Open Space. The crew removed dead and diseased lodgepole pine across the property to address the extensive pine beetle kill. They also removed living trees at risk of uprooting from the wind once the dead trees were cleared. The efforts of this project greatly reduce the intensity and potential spread of wildfire in the eastern portion of the Keystone Resort development area.
Soda Springs Park Phase I
$293,658 grant to the City of Manitou Springs
In 2012-2013, Soda Springs Park was used as a staging area for dirt and debris during the Waldo Canyon floods. The area sat unused for the next few years as the city prioritized flood mitigation. With the help of a GOCO grant, the City of Manitou Springs redeveloped the west end of Soda Springs Park by adding a small plaza, a climbing net structure, a nature exploration area, landscaping, and ADA access. The city also added natural boulders and a beach zone by Fountain Creek’s edge and thinned the vegetation along the creek for better connectivity.
Spring Creek Forest Fuels Reduction Project
$31,350 grant to Huerfano County
With the help of GOCO funds, Huerfano County hired a Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) crew to thin dense forest on public land located near private residential properties by the Cucharas River headwaters. Crews cleared five acres of hazardous ponderosa pine, oak, mixed conifer, and aspen trees, which greatly reduces the risk of highly destructive and erratic wildfires.
Learn More About MYYC
Standley Lake Loop Trail Segment Construction
$50,100 grant to the City of Westminster
The City of Westminster used GOCO funds to hire a Mile High Youth Corps crew for six weeks to finish trail construction on Standley Lake’s loop trail. The completed trail is accessible to hikers as it passes through a half-mile buffer around a bald eagle nest, providing a unique nature experience in an urban setting.
Explore the Trail
Troublesome Fire Trails Recovery
$36,000 grant to Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District
The community of Grand Lake suffered from the devastation of the East Troublesome fire in 2020, losing access to the outdoors—a resource that has been so valuable throughout the pandemic. With GOCO funds, the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District (GLMRD) and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps provided four weeks of crew work to restore recreational access to open space. Crews cut and removed hazardous trees, restored and rerouted trails, and chipped down trees blocking access to trails and roadways.
West Gunnison Park & Open Space Trail
$17,960 grant to the City of Gunnison
The City of Gunnison used GOCO funds to employ a Western Colorado Conservation Corp crew to build a .7-mile-long gravel nature path in the West Gunnison neighborhood. The trail connects the park to a planned residential community, the Gunnison River waterfront, a senior care center, and several open meadows and ponds by a nearby open space. The crews also restored native vegetation and removed noxious weeds along the trail.
Read the News Release
Wildfire Partners: Youth Corps Helping Seniors Adapt to Wildfire Risk
$41,800 grant to Boulder County
Boulder County used its GOCO grant to hire a Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) crew to work on fire risk projects across 16 properties with conservation easements. The focus was on privately owned, conserved lands whose landowners are elderly or cannot perform this work. The crew removed dead and diseased trees, cleared brush and weeds, cleaned debris, chipped wood, raked pine needles, built rock barriers around houses, and more. For the past three years, Boulder County’s Wildfire Partners program has worked with the MHYC to reduce wildfire risk on private and public lands.
Learn more about Wildfire Partners