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, seven projects were completed, representing more than $220,000 in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Buena Vista Near Town Trail Development
$23,310 grant to the Town of Buena Vista
The Town of Buena Vista used its Conservation Service Corps grant to hire a Southwest Conservation Corps - Los Valles crew to work on the Barbara “Whipple” Trail. The multi-use trail for hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding saw an increase in use, causing trail conditions to become unsafe and environmentally unsustainable. Crew members restored the trail and improved its safety, sustainability, and enjoyment for all users.
The crew also worked on sections of the ADA-accessible Walton Loop, Rock n Roll, and River Park trails. Upgrades made to the trails, such as fixes to trail surfaces, helped reduce the number of social trails and aid in better drainage while providing improved access to recreation with river views and to other public park facilities nearby.
Learn more about Southwest Conservation Corps
Forest Health and Habitat Restoration in the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor
$30,471 grant to Palmer Land Conservancy
With the help of GOCO funds, Palmer Land Conservancy hired a Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range (MHYC-SFR) crew for three weeks to restore forest health and habitat at the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor. Crew members completed forest health and fuel mitigation work across 4.7 acres of land, constructed and repaired a mile’s worth of wildlife-friendly fencing, and removed invasive species on 20 acres. This project aimed to reduce the intensity of catastrophic wildfires, improve forest health, and enhance an important migratory area for elk and other wildlife species. Partners included Palmer Land Conservancy, MHYC-SFR, Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and private landowners.
Read more about the project
From Static Transactions to Dynamic Engagement
$72,377 grant to Montezuma Land Conservancy
With its Resilient Communities grant, the Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) finished its Community Values Assessment to inform a new strategic conservation plan. The assessment collected input from over 500 community members, stakeholders, and partners on topics related to conservation values, cultural connections to land, recreation, wildlife, agriculture, youth employment, and more.
Funding also supported the exploration of data and mapping to better understand small farm protection and climate resiliency planning for MLC. Additionally, MLC hired a conservation fellow and GIS analyst from the community to lead outreach and engagement programs, support GIS mapping and data collection, and help analyze community survey results.
Read a local press release about the grant
Hazard Tree and Forest Fuel Mitigation Project in Grand County
$37,800 grant to the Town of Winter Park
In 2020, Grand County experienced two widespread and long-lived windstorms. These derecho wind events, in addition to the East Troublesome Fire, the William Fork Fire, and the pine bark beetle epidemic, have greatly affected trees in the area. They presented wildfire risks and posed safety hazards as they continued to fall on roads, trails, and recreation areas. With this funding, the Headwaters Trail Alliance (HTA) and the Town of Winter Park employed a Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) chainsaw crew for four weeks to mitigate hazardous trees. Their removal improved public safety in recreational areas, reduced annual trail maintenance costs and resources, reduced forest fuels that posed wildfire risks, and promoted healthy and diverse forests. This project is part of a multi-year collaboration between RMYC and HTA.
Read more about the project
Restoring the High Line Canal through Russian Olive Mapping and Removal
$28,350 grant to High Line Canal Conservancy
With its Conservation Service Corps grant, the High Line Canal Conservancy (HLCC) partnered with Mile High Youth Corps for three weeks of work to begin restoring 9.6 miles of the High Line Canal (pictured above). Crew members mapped, inventoried, and removed invasive Russian olive trees from the corridor’s canopy. The conservancy is working with local partners to transition the canal into green stormwater infrastructure, which could improve water quality and provide a new source of water to preserve the canal’s natural character. The removal of invasive species complemented the conservancy’s efforts to plant trees along this reach of the canal and initiate a holistic approach to protecting and restoring the canopy.
Learn more about the HLCC
Slumgullion Center Campground and Trail Project
$12,468 grant to Colorado Open Lands
With GOCO funds, Colorado Open Lands (COL) hired a Southwest Conservation Corps-Los Valles (SCC-LV) for two weeks of work at Lake City’s 58-acre Slumgullion Center. Crew members cleaned up and refined approximately three acres of the campsite, and cleared dead trees and debris from an observatory site near the top of Slumgullion Pass in preparation for astronomy viewing sessions. Crew members also improved two 100-foot sections of trail and built two miles of new trail, which provides river access to the Lake Fork of the Gunnison and creates a two-mile loop from the interpretive overlook to the picnic area and back to the campground. This project is a partnership between Colorado Open Lands, SCC-LV, and Lake Fork Valley Conservancy.
Learn more about COL
Summer Weed Abatement & Trail Work
$15,960 grant to the City of Gunnison
With its Conservation Service Corps grant, the City of Gunnison hired a Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) crew for two weeks of work on weed removal and trail work on five acres of open space at Van Tuyl pocket parks, Cranor Hill, Taylor Mountain Park, West Gunnison Park, and Gunnison Recreation Center. Crew members hand-pulled invasive weeds and constructed 2,000 feet of granite trail that connects the Gunnison River waterfront to housing development, providing the neighborhood access to open meadows and ponds. This project builds on past youth corps work as part of a bigger vision to build the West Gunnison Neighborhood Park, which will make outdoor recreation opportunities more accessible and equitable for all Gunnison residents.
Learn more about WCCC