GOCO board awards $8.9M for parks, land acquisitions, stewardship, planning and capacity
DENVER–Today the GOCO board awarded a total of $8,978,665 to 12 projects across the state as part of GOCO’s base programs: community impact, land acquisition, stewardship impact, and planning and capacity.
The projects will:
- Permanently protect over 24,000 acres of land supporting wildlife, water resources, agriculture heritage, and recreation.
- Build and improve parks and recreation facilities in Meeker, Buena Vista, Cheyenne Wells, Superior, and Avon to expand outdoor access.
- Engage the Loveland community in stewardship of the city's increasingly stressed public lands.
- Expand planning efforts to improve recreation infrastructure in Towaoc and promote the well-being and fitness of all residents.
GOCO’s Community Impact program develops and revitalizes parks, trails, school yards, fairgrounds, environmental education facilities, and other outdoor projects that enhance a community’s quality of life and access to the outdoors.
Meeker Riverfront Revitalization, $750,000 to the Town of Meeker
Funding will help the Town of Meeker, in partnership with East Rio Blanco Metro Parks and Recreation District, in constructing three formal, in-town access points on the White River at Third Street, Circle Park, and Tenth Street. Identified as a top priority by the local community, this Meeker Riverfront Project brings ecological, economic, and recreational benefits of the White River to residents and visitors alike. The White River runs almost entirely through private lands, which previously limited public access. This project will create more than half a mile of river access points in the heart of Meeker.
Billy Cordova Memorial Park and Trail, $748,915 to the Town of Buena Vista
This GOCO grant will support construction of the Billy Cordova Memorial Park and Trail in Buena Vista. The project will provide residents from the rapidly growing southwest side of town with a close-to-home park and a 1,700-foot trail connected to the town's larger trail system. The park will be the first within a three-county region to provide fully accessible and adaptive equipment for people living with physical and cognitive disabilities. The park design was informed by a robust community engagement process led by a local coalition of neighbors, municipal leaders, parents, and recreation groups that started in 2013.
Step It Up! Your Health Matters, $674,500 to Cheyenne County
GOCO funding will help renovate an outdoor community space in the Town of Cheyenne Wells. The project will replace a 19-year-old track at Cheyenne County School District with a new playground, bleachers, perimeter fencing, landscaping, restrooms, a concession building, and a track. The upgraded facilities will provide opportunities for people of all ages to recreate and enjoy the health benefits of doing so. The space will be used for track meets for over two dozen schools as well as outdoor educational events hosted by the Step It Up! Your Health Matters project. The space will be open to the public throughout the year outside of practices, competitions, and events.
Post-Fire Park and Playground Rebuild, $660,000 to the Town of Superior
The grant will help rebuild Children’s Park, Big Sagamore Park, and Little Sagamore Park, which were all impacted by the 2021 Marshall Fire. The grant will support upgrades beyond the original amenities. The three parks serve Superior’s Sagamore and Original Town neighborhoods, which saw over 350 homes destroyed in the fire. As these neighborhoods continue to rebuild and some residents move into their newly built homes, the community hopes to update the parks and playgrounds with accessible playground components; improved safety surfacing; and drought-resistant, firewise landscaping.
Eaglebend Pocket Park Transformation Project Community, $375,000 to the Town of Avon
Funding will help the Town of Avon, in partnership with the Generation Wild coalition Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM), make plans for and transform Eaglebend Pocket Park. The project will focus on upgrading the park to expand outdoor recreation opportunities for the local community, including many families living at Eaglebend Apartments, which hosts 240 affordable workforce housing units. The transformation of this community asset will focus on inclusiveness, equitable access, and sustainable design. EVOM will lead a community-centered design process, including bilingual surveys and meetings, door-to-door interviews in the surrounding neighborhood, and youth engagement.
GOCO’s Land Acquisition program supports urban and rural landscape, waterway, and habitat protection priorities and improves access to the outdoors.
Bohart Ranch Phases I & II, $2,175,000 to Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy
Funding will support the acquisition of approximately 20,000 acres of the Bohart Ranch in El Paso County. In addition to the grant award, the GOCO board has committed a $3 million loan to Trust for Public Land (TPL) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to support the project. The property contains significant natural resources, wildlife habitat, and an agricultural operation. The project marks the beginning stages of a significant conservation effort involving TPL, TNC, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, and Palmer Land Conservancy, leveraging funds from the United States Department of Defense.
Heart of Heil Valley Acquisition, $1,500,000 to Boulder County
This GOCO grant will help Boulder County acquire 586 acres of land within the 5,143-acre Heil Valley Ranch open space. The property has served as a popular outdoor recreation destination for many years. It contains 19.1 miles of trails, which connect northward to the county's Hall Ranch open space—popular with mountain bikers, hikers, equestrians, and bird watchers. The property also has significant conservation values in a transitional zone between prairie grassland and montane habitat. The parcel is recognized for having critical wildlife habitat, rare plant areas, and significant natural communities, wetlands, and riparian areas.
Marble Outdoors Basecamp Acquisition, $1,000,000 to Aspen Valley Land Trust
Funding will support the acquisition of a 42-acre Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) parcel adjacent to the Chapin Wright property, which has also been supported with GOCO funding, in Marble. Efforts will enhance long-term protection of critical wildlife species within the Crystal River Potential Conservation Area—a designation made by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program for unique ecosystems that add to Colorado’s biological diversity. Key species on the property include elk, moose, black bears, snowshoe hares, bobcats, and potentially Canada lynx. Founded in 1962, the COBS property also represents the first Outward Bound campus in the United States and a legacy of outdoor education.
Higher Ground Ranch Conservation Easement, $425,000 to Trust for Public Land
The grant will help permanently protect the 3,327-acre Higher Ground Ranch with a conservation easement. The property contains critical wildlife habitat, with winter range and migration corridors, and connects to more than 3.7 million acres of protected federal land. The effort protects the headwaters of Doug and Clear Fork Creeks, over 14 miles of stream, and 28 springs that contribute to critical water supply to the Gunnison River system, including Crawford and Gould Reservoirs. The effort is also supported by funding from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Gunnison Legacy Fund, and the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program.
High Line Canal Conservation Easement, $350,000 to High Line Canal Conservancy
Funding will support the High Line Canal Conservancy’s work to permanently protect the High Line Canal as a regional open space. This 71-mile, 860-acre corridor provides valuable recreation access for the Denver-metro region, winding through some of its most diverse communities and connecting neighbors to schools, community centers, and over 8,000 acres of parks and open spaces. The Canal spans communities in Denver, Douglas, Adams, and Arapahoe Counties, passing through a variety of Front Range ecosystems along the way.
GOCO’s Stewardship Impact program supports collaborative stewardship work that demonstrates meaningful improvements to ecological and recreational amenities.
Stewardship Impact through Community Engagement in Loveland, $170,250 to the City of Loveland
Funding will help the City of Loveland partner with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV) and Big Thompson Watershed Coalition to engage the Loveland community in stewardship of the city's increasingly stressed public lands. The effort aims to create a sustained stewardship model for Loveland's future, leveraging partnerships with local organizations, training and education opportunities, and outdoor projects. Through partnerships established in Loveland’s Project Outdoors plan, also supported with GOCO funding, WRV will host bilingual stewardship activities and leadership training to engage with local youth and families.
Planning and Capacity
GOCO’s Planning and Capacity program invests in projects that address opportunities, explore issues, engage communities, and examine trends in the outdoors.
Ute Mountain Ute Recreation Master Plan, $150,000 to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
The grant will support planning efforts aimed at improving recreation infrastructure in and around the community of Towaoc to promote the well-being and fitness of all residents. Efforts will assess existing outdoor recreation facilities and identify opportunities for future outdoor amenities. The Ute Mountain Ute Recreation Department will lead the initiative with support from members of the Kwiyagat Community Academy and the Ute Mountain Ute Planning and Economic Development Department. Funding will also support a part-time tribal liaison position and three community connectors, all individuals who live or work in the community.
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 5,600 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.