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GOCO helps conserve nearly 3,000 acres with latest round of grants

Thursday, June 14, 2018 -- GOCO
June 14, 2018

Contact:   Rosemary Dempsey, 303-226-4530, rdempsey@goco.org or

           Laura Cardon, 303-226-4531, lcardon@goco.org


GOCO helps conserve nearly 3,000 acres with latest round of grants

DENVER – The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded $161,899 in conservation easement transaction costs grants on Thursday. Transaction costs grants facilitate land conservation projects that might not otherwise be possible in light of prohibitive transaction costs.

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization that permanently conserves an important piece of property, removing the threat of future development while it typically remains in private ownerships. Transaction costs associated with placing an easement on a property range from $20,000 to $50,000 or more.

GOCO’s transaction costs grant program leverages Colorado Lottery dollars to remove the financial barrier and expand the amount of land preserved statewide, especially through projects that further efforts toward landscape-scale conservation and conservation on properties along waterways or containing water resources.

In this grant round, the conservation easement transaction costs program funded four projects in four different counties. The projects will protect 2,932 acres of land with significant wildlife habitat, scenic value, and agricultural production. In all of these projects, landowners are donating the full value of the conservation easements.

Funded projects are as follows:

Elk Meadows Conservation Easement, $46,200 grant to Central Colorado Conservancy

Central Colorado Conservancy will acquire a conservation easement on the 300-acre Elk Meadows Ranch, located along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway. Wildlife welfare is deeply important to the landowner, who wants to ensure the wildlife habitat on the ranch remains intact. The ranch provides critical habitat for deer, elk, and numerous other species. With increasing development in the surrounding area, working ranchland is becoming increasingly more valuable.

Estes Valley Land Trust Conservation Easement, $37,300 grant to Estes Valley Land Trust

With the help of GOCO funding, pending approval by the Estes Valley Land Trust Board of Directors and the Harmony Foundation Board of Directors, the land trust will acquire a conservation easement on a 28-acre property owned by the nonprofit. The property borders Rocky Mountain National Park near the Fall River Visitor Center and Entrance, where more than one million visitors entered the park last year. Protecting this land allows the surrounding views to remain unobstructed.

Merritt Ranch Conservation Legacy, $45,000 grant to Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT)

CCALT will invest GOCO funding to cover transaction costs associated with the conservation of the 2,600-acre Merritt Ranch, located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. CCALT has already protected more than 2,255 acres of land on surrounding properties to make sure that the entire area will remain in productive agriculture, which greatly benefits the local economy.

The property also provides important habitat for mule deer, elk, and several other species. With the increase of subdivision development north of the ranch, conservation is essential to ensure the property stays in agriculture and maintains wildlife migration routes.

Minturn Boneyard, $33,399 grant to Eagle Valley Land Trust

EVLT will acquire a conservation easement on the 4.39-acre Minturn Boneyard Open Space, which is owned by the Town of Minturn. One quarter-mile of the property is located along the Eagle River, which is some of the last remaining riverfront land with public access in the town. It also has several walking trails and a fishing access point for public use. The town purchased the land with financial assistance from Eagle County in 2013 in order to protect public access to the river and other resources.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,000 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.