Contact:   Rosemary Dempsey, 303-226-4530, or

         Laura Cardon, 303-226-4531,

DENVER – Today the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded $8.9 million in grants to five projects in the second round of funding for the Connect Initiative. The initiative closes critical gaps in trail networks across the state, bringing more close-to-home recreation opportunities to Coloradans.

The Peaks to Plains Trail will get a boost with Clear Creek County’s addition of a new Clear Creek Greenway trail segment through the Clear Creek Canyon, as well as with a grant to the City of Idaho Springs for new segments of the Greenway through the business district and historic downtown area of Idaho Springs; the City of Montrose will construct 2.25 miles of trail connecting its residents to its primary parks and new Community Recreation Center; the City of Grand Junction will connect the Colorado Riverfront Trail, downtown Grand Junction, and surrounding neighborhoods to the Lunch Loops trailhead and Three Sisters Open Space with its new trail; and the City of Durango will complete the northern extension of the Animas River Greenway Trail from Memorial Park to Oxbow Park and Preserve.

GOCO’s Connect Initiative will invest $28.4 million over four years in closing trail gaps and creating safe access for all Coloradans to the outdoors. More than 80% of people in Colorado recreate on trails, and closing gaps and increasing connectivity has long been a top priority for the state’s residents.

The GOCO Board awarded the first round of Connect Initiative funding in October 2016, granting $10 million to six projects.

This second round of Connect Initiative grants will have a significant impact on moving five highly-demanded trail projects forward, with funding helping to construct more than 6.5 miles of trail and leveraging more than $11 million in local matching dollars.

Funded projects are as follows:

Clear Creek Greenway through Idaho Springs, $2 million to City of Idaho Springs, in partnership with the Clear Creek Greenway Authority (CCGA)

The City of Idaho Springs will help construct three separate segments of the Clear Creek Greenway as the result of a partnership among the City, CCGA, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The new segments will create additional capacity for tourism to the area, which already sees as many as 10,000 visitors per day during peak season. Tourists and local residents will benefit from safer, pedestrian-friendly connections between the City’s business district on the east side with its downtown area. The trail will create safer connections among local parks, Clear Creek Recreation Center, and historic sites.

Durango Animas River Greenway Trail Connection, $1,382,955 grant to the City of Durango

The City of Durango will complete the northern extension of the Animas River Greenway Trail from Memorial Park to Oxbow Park and Preserve, the City’s newest open space area in the Animas View Drive neighborhood. The extension will run nearly one mile and be a 10-foot-wide, concrete trail. It will safely link area residents, including the more than 1,000 people living along Animas View Drive without sidewalks, to multiple public parks and open spaces.

Lunch Loops Trail, $1,517,045 grant to the City of Grand Junction, in partnership with Mesa Land Trust

The City of Grand Junction and Mesa Land Trust will close a significant gap in the Grand Valley’s paved trail system with a 1.5-mile, paved, shared use path to the Lunch Loops/Three Sisters single track dirt trails. Grand Valley residents and visitors will be able to safely access 75 miles of single track trail systems that are currently primarily accessed by car due to safety concerns along Monument Road. Outdoor recreation helps those living in the Grand Valley achieve healthy lifestyles and also supports the local economy.

Peaks to Plains Trail Clear Creek Greenway Canyon Segment Phase 2 Project, $2 million to Clear Creek County

Clear Creek County will extend a recently completed, GOCO-funded, three-mile section of the Peaks to Plains Trail through Clear Creek Canyon along Highway 6. The new trail will begin on the east side of the Oxbow Parcel parking lot, just east of Tunnel 6, and continue .75 miles along Clear Creek to the west side of Tunnel 5. The trail will bring the County closer to connecting the canyon to the City of Idaho Springs. It will benefit users from the Front Range and the Clear Creek County community, making the safe route for pedestrians and cyclists through Clear Creek Canyon longer and providing easier access to the creek where people fish, wade in the water, rock climb, and enjoy nature.

Trail Through Montrose, $2 million grant to the City of Montrose, in partnership with the Montrose Recreation District (MRD)

The City of Montrose and MRD will construct 2.25 miles of new trail and two bike/pedestrian underpasses to cross U.S. Highway 550 and U.S. Highway 90, creating a safer, more connected community. A new trail section on the southern end of Montrose will connect the recently opened, 80,000-square-foot Community Recreation Center (CRC), located east of Highway 550, with 282-acre Baldridge Regional Park and the existing Uncompahgre River Trail, both located west of that highway. The connection will enable bike and pedestrian access by 86% of Montrose’s population living east of Highway 550 to the parks and trail system on the west side. A second trail section will extend the River Trail north to residential areas that currently have no easy access to parks and recreation.

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 all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit for more information.