Great Outdoors Colorado

Rosemary Dempsey, 303.226.4530, 
Diane Metzger, 303.226.4507, 
Crystal Medrano, 303.226.4522,

DENVER - Today the GOCO board awarded a total of $6,041,037 in grants to fund 38 projects across the state supporting community access to the outdoors, land acquisition and stewardship, and planning and capacity efforts, including four new fellowships at partner organizations and 23 conservation service corps projects across Colorado. 

The majority of the funding, totaling $4,548,822, will support 11 projects as part of GOCO’s base programs: community impact, land acquisition, stewardship impact, and planning and capacity.  The projects, which will leverage GOCO’s investment against $25 million in matching contributions, will produce many outcomes, including to:

  • Permanently protect over 27,000 acres of land for wildlife, scenic vistas, and natural resource values and create a new open space park on another 1,000 acres.
  • Provide consistent and sustainable water for Ouray’s world-famous ice park.
  • Renovate an existing park in Erie’s downtown core with community designed amenities, year-round and activation programming, and opportunities to support local economic development.
  • Develop plans and collaboratives to address pressing stewardship needs like managing public access pressures and forest and watershed health in regions experiencing some of the most pressure in Chaffee County, Clear Creek County, and throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

In addition, a total of $592,215 was awarded to The City of Greeley, Gunnison County, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and the National Wildlife Federation to offer fellowships for young people to prepare for careers in the outdoors. The grants are part of GOCO’s fellowship program, which funds two-year positions at select organizations for young people of diverse backgrounds to gain experience in the fields of conservation, outdoor recreation, and stewardship, while addressing organizational needs. 

The rest of the funding totaling $900,000, was awarded through GOCO’s conservation service corps grant program, run in partnership with Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) to employ youth corps crews across the state on outdoor recreation and stewardship projects. CYCA represents a statewide coalition of eight accredited corps that train youth, young adults, and veterans to complete land and water conservation work and gain professional skills. 

The service corps grants will be put to work to:

  • Deploy work crews in 18 counties
  • Restore 50 miles of riverbank corridor 
  • Complete 17 miles of trail work 
  • Address forest health issues on 123 acres 
  • Remove invasive species from 839 acres

Base Program Funding

Community Impact

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. Projects include: 

Coal Creek Park Redevelopment Project, $555,956 to the Town of Erie 

Funding will support a redevelopment plan for Coal Creek Park in the Town of Erie that includes the construction of a new community restroom, two new shade shelters, an event lawn, a promenade for community events, expanded trail opportunities, a nature-themed playground, parking, and a dual-use area that will house the town’s ice rink in winter and a splash pad in summer. Events held at Coal Creek drive pedestrian traffic to Downtown Erie—supporting the local economy—and the park provides residents and visitors an opportunity to engage with the outdoors, which has proved to be an important outlet for mental and physical health during the pandemic. 

Our Water Our Future - Solving Ouray's Water Shortage, $100,000 to the City of Ouray 

The grant will support the City of Ouray’s construction of a water delivery system built to access a new water supply for the Ouray Ice Park, which has faced challenges to water access from drier winters, growing demand from the city, and an aging infrastructure. The city recently secured an agreement with Ouray Silver Mines, Inc., which will donate the water and a right to pull water from a wet-well installed near the confluence of the Uncompahgre River and Cañon Creek. The new system will help the Ice Park operate at full capacity, as well as expand climbing terrain by up to an additional 40 routes. The Ice Park accounts for 60% of the city’s winter economy. 

Land Acquisition

GOCO’s land acquisition program supports urban and rural landscape, waterway, and habitat protection priorities and improves access to the outdoors. Projects include: 

Delhi Ranch Conservation Easement, $200,000 to Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust

The grant will support Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) in conveying a conservation easement on the 27,078-acre Delhi Ranch, which spans Las Animas, Otero, and Pueblo counties and is owned and operated by the Hall Family. The property consists of intact, native shortgrass prairie, an ecosystem that supports nearly twice as many animal species of concern as any other land-based ecosystem in Colorado. The easement will limit fragmentation and subdivision and support soil and grassland management practices that benefit carbon sequestration. 

Douglas Mountain Ranch and Preserve, $544,000 to Mountain Area Land Trust 

The grant will support Mountain Area Land Trust in the acquisition of Douglas Mountain Ranch, a 123-acre property outside the Town of Empire. The property is critical Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep wildlife habitat and protects scenic viewsheds from US Highway 40, a heavily-traveled corridor off Interstate 70. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will manage the property as a part of the Georgetown State Wildlife Area. Recreation opportunities will include wildlife viewing, connection to the Clear Creek Greenway trail, and fishing access.

Historic Splendid Valley Farm, $977,000 to The Conservation Fund 

The grant will support The Conservation Fund in purchasing the Historic Splendid Valley Farm, conveying a conservation easement, and selling the protected property to a conservation buyer. The project conserves one of the three largest parcels of productive farmland in the Historic Splendid Valley, a fertile pocket of soil near Brighton that has been farmed for generations. The project supports critical wildlife habitat, corridors, riparian areas, migration routes, and flyways. The farm also holds 115 shares of Fulton Ditch water rights. Fulton Ditch, diverted from the South Platte River, is one of the oldest and most reliable sources of water for agriculture in the state.

Shurview/Missile Site Bluffs Open Space, $1,500,000 to The Trust for Public Land 

The grant will help the Trust for Public Land, the City of Greeley, and the Town of Windsor conserve the 978-acre Shurview/Missile Site Bluffs property, located between Windsor and Greeley along Highway 257 in Weld County. This property is the last remaining large parcel of land with significant conservation value along this corridor, providing a buffer and scenic views for the communities. It houses a range of wildlife species and also plays an important role in managing stormwater and irrigation runoff and preventing soil erosion. The Shurview acquisition is expected to close in March 2022.

Stewardship Impact

GOCO’s stewardship impact program supports collaborative stewardship work that demonstrates meaningful improvements to ecological and recreational amenities. Projects include:

RFOV: Community-Powered Stewardship in Western Colorado, $298,490 to Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers 

The grant will support Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) in completing 145 stewardship projects for a total of 6,000 volunteer hours each year across its service region—from Independence Pass to Parachute and Marble to Glenwood Canyon—with a particular emphasis on growing volunteer participation by 30% in the Middle Colorado River Valley. As the largest single grant in RFOV’s 26-year history, funding will support increased capacity by hiring four new staff members; training for staff, volunteers, and partners; an upgrade to RFOV’s volunteer registration system; and the purchase of a vehicle to support increased project participation. 

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. Projects include: 

All Lands Camping Plan Accelerator and Recreation Adopters Phase II, $148,300 to Chaffee County

The grant will support Chaffee County, as part of the Envision Chaffee County collaborative, in creating two key plans and strategies to address increased visitation in the region. First, the All-Lands Camping Plan Accelerator will develop a collaborative model to manage dispersed camping impacts across city, county, private, and public lands. Second, the Chaffee Recreation Adopters program offers tools and approaches to empower outdoor enthusiasts to be more effective stewards of the land, while also enhancing land management capacity. Tools and approaches will be shared statewide, including through existing partnerships with Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

Clear Creek Recreation in the Outdoors Management Plan, $100,000 to Clear Creek County 

The grant will support Clear Creek County in creating the Clear Creek Recreation in the Outdoors Management Plan, which will bring local, federal, and state land managers together to inform decision making for the next 10 years. The effort seeks to enhance and improve efficiency and create a shared vision for all the stakeholders and advocates for planned and managed recreation in the county, which has seen significant increases in visitation from the growing Front Range. The plan aims to improve coordination across disparate local land managers to the benefit of the community’s residents and visitors.

Establishing a Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network, $89,326 to Colorado State University 

The grant will support the Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University to establish a collaborative network to respond to the increased challenges facing Colorado forests and watersheds as a result of climate change, wildfires, and other disturbances. The mission of the network is to enhance communication, coordination, and capacity of community-based collaboratives. The network will listen to local concerns, educate communities and give assurance that forest projects will align with local expectations, linking local needs to state and regional efforts. 

Upper Arkansas Watershed Resiliency Plan, $35,750 to Central Colorado Conservancy 

The grant will support Central Colorado Conservancy and partners within the Upper Arkansas Watershed Partnership to conduct a river and stream health assessment and hazard zone study on three major tributaries in Chaffee County, accounting for approximately 40 river miles. The effort is part of a larger watershed resiliency planning process that seeks to identify challenges facing diverse water users and the ecosystem, while also creating collaborative opportunities to address them. The project will address the critical need for data on current stream health and lands that are under threat of potential post-fire flooding, development, and climate change. 

Fellowship Program Grants

$143,000 grant to the City of Greeley 

The grant will support the City of Greeley in hiring a fellow in the Natural Areas & Trails (NAT) division of its culture, parks & recreation department. The fellow will partner with NAT staff and community stakeholders to help move major initiatives forward, including the land acquisition and community visioning and engagement effort for the Shur View property project, as well as a dedicated open space ballot measure in the near future. 

$150,000 grant to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition 

The grant will support the Continental Divide Trail Coalition in hiring a fellow focused on the completion, promotion, and protection of the Continental Divide Scenic Trail, over 700 miles of trail which runs through Colorado. The fellow will work on projects that grow a diverse trail community; provide up-to-date information to the public; and encourage the stewardship of the trail, its corridor, and surrounding landscapes. This will involve building stronger relationships with communities adjacent to the trail, volunteers, government organizations, and tribal communities. 

$150,000 grant to Gunnison County 

The grant will support Gunnison County’s Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (STOR) Committee in partnership with Western Colorado University’s Center for Public Lands in hiring a fellow to work on cutting-edge recreation initiatives that strengthen the resiliency of the community and address pressing social and ecological challenges. 

$149,215 grant to the National Wildlife Federation 

The grant will support the National Wildlife Federation in hiring a fellow focused on efforts to incorporate ‘nearby nature’ and the benefits of daily interactions with the outdoors into the lives of Denver Metro area residents and communities. The fellow will also help infuse the climate, health, and economic benefits of green infrastructure in an area that has been historically marginalized. 

Conservation Service Corps Grants

Baker’s Park Trail System- Phase One, $21,780 grant to San Juan County 

With the help of GOCO funds, a Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners crew will help build the Baker’s Park Trail System, which will include 24 miles of shared-use singletrack for bikers and pedestrians and six miles of one-way trails for mountain biking. Crews will clear corridors, scatter woody debris, and hand finish the work of trails built by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and other professional trail builders. The project, which is a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management, the Town of Silverton, Silverton Singletrack Society, IMBA, and local businesses, offers health and economic benefits, provides recreation opportunities, and fosters community involvement. Partners are set to break ground in spring 2022 with the construction of 10 miles of trail and a trailhead parking lot.

Buena Vista Near Town Trail Development & Maintenance Project, $23,310 grant to the Town of Buena Vista

The Barbara “Whipple” Trail is a multi-use trail for hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding which has experienced an increase in use making conditions unsafe and environmentally unstable. With the help of GOCO funds, a Southwest Conservation Corps-Los Valles crew will work for three weeks on restoring the trail, improving its safety, sustainability, and enjoyment for all users. 

Crews will also work on the 1.3-mile Walton Loop ADA-compliant trail, and on the construction of a one-mile, single-loop beginner mountain bike TaterTots trail next to it. Both trails will help reduce the number of social trails created while providing improved access to recreation with river views and trails, tennis courts, and high school sports fields nearby.

Dolores River Restoration, $28,350 grant to Mesa County 

Mesa County Noxious Weed and Pest Management will hire crews from Western Colorado Conservation Corps for three weeks to conduct four acres of tamarisk removal and 16.5 acres of tamarisk treatments along the Dolores River. Crews will reduce the invasive plant contributing to channel narrowing in the river. The project will improve the overall ecosystem by reducing competition for native species, reducing the risk of fire, and improving habitat for animals. This project will be conducted by the Dolores River Restoration Partnership with leadership from Mesa County, RiversEdge West, Bureau of Land Management, and Southwest Conservation Corps. 

East Plum Creek Restoration Partnership, $24,150 grant to Douglas County Conservation District

With this funding, Douglas County Conservation District will employ a Mile High Youth Corps crew for four weeks of river restoration work across three reaches of East Plum Creek. Crews will continue to regrade, contour, and revegetate stream banks and damaged floodplains, adding to work already completed on the creek over the last three years. They will plant approximately 5,000 native riparian species and other aquatic plants to help improve the creek system’s water quality and wildlife habitat. In addition, an herbicide application crew will work on a one-mile stretch of the creek through Lowell Ranch. This project will help partners control noxious weeds, increase native plant diversity, improve habitat for river wildlife, and create a better functioning stream system. 

Elkhorn Creek Forest Health Initiative, $75,600 grant to Larimer County

The Larimer County Department of Natural Resources in partnership with the Elkhorn Creek Forest Health Initiative will employ a Larimer County Conservation Corps (LCCC) crew to work on forest restoration and wildfire mitigation at Ben Delatour Scout Ranch. In three weeks of work, crews will mitigate ponderosa pine and dry mixed-conifer on 20 acres to reduce fire hazards by targeting small stems, piling slash, pruning leaf trees, and more. This project is part of a multi-year effort. LCCC’s ongoing work will improve watershed health, protect nearby communities, safeguard water resources within the watershed, and build sawyer capacity for the 3,200-acre property. 

Forest Health and Habitat Restoration in the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor, $36,330 grant to Palmer Land Conservancy

With the help of GOCO funds, a Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range (MHYC-SFR) crew will work on restoring forest health and habitat for three weeks at the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor. Crews will complete forest health and fuel mitigation work across 5-10 acres of land, construct and repair a mile’s worth of wildlife-friendly fencing, and remove invasive species on 20 acres. This project aims to reduce the intensity of catastrophic wildfires, improve forest health, and enhance an important migratory area for elk and other wildlife species. Partners include Palmer Land Conservancy, MHYC-SFR, Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and private landowners.

Genesee-Newton Project: Developing Recreational and Camping Capacity in Denver Mountain Parks, $58,800 grant to the City and County of Denver

A Mile High Youth Corps crew will work with Denver Mountain Parks for eight weeks to develop camping and recreational capacity as part of the Genesee-Newton Project. Crews will reclaim a near-abandoned campground in Genesee Park, build six tent pads in the youth programming area, and complete construction of the first loop of an introductory mountain bike course at Newton Park in Conifer. This project will help parks accommodate group and volunteer programming; meet the demand for organized group camping; and facilitate youth education in mountain bike skills, safety, and trail etiquette. 

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 and William Fork Fires and the pine bark beetle epidemic have greatly affected area trees. They currently present wildfire risks and pose safety hazards as they continue to fall on roads, trails, and recreation areas. With this funding, the Headwaters Trail Alliance (HTA) and the Town of Winter Park will employ a Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) chainsaw crew for four weeks to mitigate hazard trees. Their removal will improve public safety in recreational areas, reduce annual trail maintenance costs and resources, reduce forest fuels that pose wildfire risks, and promote healthy and diverse forests. This project is part of a multi-year collaboration between RMYC and HTA.

Healthy Forests, Fences and Benches, $51,660 grant to Chaffee County 

Chaffee County will employ a Southwest Conservation Corps-Los Valles (SCC-LV) crew for six weeks to complete critical wildfire mitigation work as part of Chaffee County’s Healthy Forests, Fences, and Benches program. Crews will thin seven or more acres of lodgepole pine in Chaffee and Lake Counties to reduce the threat of extreme wildfire conditions. Harvested timber will be used to build fences that help protect plant and wildlife habitat, and to construct accessible benches at recreation areas in Chaffee County. 

This project is a collaboration between Chaffee County, Lake County, Town of Buena Vista, the City of Salida, Town of Poncha Springs, San Isabel National Forest, Salida and Leadville Ranger Districts, Colorado State Forest, Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative, SCC, Envision Chaffee County, Chaffee County Fires Protection District, U.S. Forest Service, and local stewardship volunteer groups.

John Griffin Regional Park Fire Mitigation, $37,800 grant to Cañon City Area Metropolitan Recreation and Park District (CCAMRPD)

CCAMRPD will employ a Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range chainsaw crew for four weeks of work to protect the long-term viability of the popular John Griffin Regional Park. Crews will remove dead and fallen cottonwood trees on 15 acres to mitigate fire threats during dry conditions and to improve access for the community to walk, bike, hike, ride horses, and more. The project is part of a bigger effort to keep restoring the 80-acre nature area, with crews continuing work that a youth corps crew began in summer 2021.

Mitigation and Removal of Invasive & Fire Hazard Trees, $28,350 grant to the City of Cortez

A Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners (SCC-FC) crew will work for three weeks on removing tamarisk and Russian olive from 186 acres across Denny Lake Park, Greer Natural Area, and Carpenter Natural Area. An estimated 300 invasive trees consume the water and space needed for native vegetation and make it difficult for community members to access the fishing ponds. The removal of these species helps the city manage the environment and facilitates the planting of native species to provide habitat for native flora, fauna, and birds. It will also provide better recreational access for walking, hiking, fishing, and biking. This project is a partnership between Montezuma County Weed Control, Cortez Fire Protection District, the City of Cortez, and SCC-FC. 

North Fruita Desert New Trail Construction Project, $31,920 grant to Mesa County Public Health

With the help of GOCO funds, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) will employ a Western Colorado Conservation Corps crew for four weeks to build four miles of new trail at the North Fruita Desert Special Recreation Management Area, which is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Crews will cut new tread on pre-determined routes while receiving training and support from the City of Fruita, BLM, Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association, and MCPH. 

Pinyon Mesa Headwaters Restoration Project, $53,760 grant to Colorado West Land Trust 

Colorado West Land Trust will employ a Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) crew to work on the Headwaters Restoration Project at Pinyon Mesa for six weeks. Crews will install water-related structures in meadows and stream corridors, remove invasive vegetation and fencing, and stimulate aspen growth among other tasks. The project will improve the quality and amount of water delivered to the Colorado River, as well as contribute to invasive vegetation control efforts while enhancing habitat for Gunnison sage grouse and other native wildlife. 

This project is a multi-year collaboration between Mountain Island Ranch, Trout Unlimited, the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and RiversEdge West (REW) focused on landscape-level, watershed restoration and habitat enhancement across conserved properties and BLM lands. 

Purgatoire-Cucharas Collaborative Forest Health & Stewardship Project, $28,350 grant to the City of Trinidad

With the help of GOCO funds, a Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range crew will work for three weeks to restore forest lands and reduce wildfire risk in Las Animas and Huerfano counties. In support of the Purgatoire-Cucharas Collaborative Forest Health Stewardship Project (PCCFHSP), crews will work on a minimum of 32 acres of national forest land and five acres of municipal forest land. Restoring these lands back to a healthy condition will reduce wildfire risk to the drinking water supplies of the Purgatoire River and Cucharas River watersheds as well as wildfire danger to local communities. 

The PCCFHSP is a collaborative effort among young adult and veteran crews, volunteers, U.S. Forest Service staff and firefighters, and an adult crew of local community members who work on stewardship projects as part of a broad-scale effort.

Restoring the High Line Canal through Russian Olive Mapping and Removal, $28,350 grant to High Line Canal Conservancy (HLCC)

HLCC will partner with Mile High Youth Corps for three weeks of work to begin restoring 9.6 miles of the High Line Canal. Crews will map, inventory, and remove 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 will complement the conservancy’s efforts to plant trees along this reach of the canal and initiate a holistic approach to protecting and restoring the canopy. 

Riverbend Park Riparian Restoration, $18,900 grant to the Town of Palisade 

In partnership with RiversEdge West, the Town of Palisade will employ a Western Colorado Conservation Corps crew for two weeks to remove tamarisk and Russian olive from Riverbend Park along the Colorado River. These invasive species inhibit river access, crowd out native vegetation, and pose a potential wildfire risk to this popular multi-use park. Phase one of this project took place in July of 2020. This additional phase will ensure past work is maintained and that re-growth is addressed. 

Russian Olive Removal and Habitat Restoration Project, $43,050 grant to the City of Lakewood  

A Mile High Youth Corps crew will work for five weeks at Bear Creek Greenbelt open space. Crews will use chainsaws and herbicide applications to remove Russian olive from approximately 10 acres and help restore the areas impacted by the removal. Crews will also improve water quality in Bear Creek by planting willow stakes and native vegetation, removing invasive weeds, and installing fencing around restored areas. The project will protect and restore wildlife habitat while promoting the 350-acre open space’s environmental quality, which benefits park users and residents in surrounding neighborhoods. 

Sacramento Creek Ranch and Pika Trail Resource Protection and Stewardship, $26,880 grant to Mountain Area Land Trust 

With the help of GOCO funds, Mountain Area Land Trust will employ a Southwest Conservation Corps-Los Valles crew for three weeks of work at Sacramento Creek Ranch and on 92 acres of the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area. Crews will remove invasive species, perform 2.5 miles of hiking trail maintenance, manage beaver ponds for water flow, and create a drainage system in the parking lot at the Pika Trailhead to inhibit erosion and flooding. They will also remove hazardous dead and diseased trees impacted by dwarf mistletoe and create a natural seating area with repurposed trees and stumps.

Together, the two sites host environmental education programs and 45-plus years of continuous high alpine research. The properties also provide access to public trails on adjacent conserved properties and lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

Shurview Public Access Preparation, $160,650 grant to the City of Greeley

The City of Greeley Natural Areas & Trail Division will hire Weld County Youth Conservation Corps crews for 19 weeks to prepare the ShurView property for public access and use. This work is critical to address the open space’s restoration and outdoor recreation needs before it becomes publicly accessible.

Crews will work on weed control and mapping, erosion control, debris clean-up, fence installation, trial preparation, and other site improvements. With this work, crews will gain skills in GIS mapping, weed identification, weather, erosion control, site planning, and community engagement. Youth corps will begin work when the property is acquired next year. 

Slumgullion Center Campground and Trail Project, $15,960 grant to Colorado Open Lands

With GOCO funds, a Southwest Conservation Corps-Los Valles (SCC-LV) crew will work for two weeks at Lake City’s 58-acre Slumgullion Center. Crews will clean up and refine approximately three acres of the campsite. They will clear dead trees and debris from an observatory site near the top of Slumgullion Pass in preparation for astronomy viewing sessions. Crews will also improve two 100-foot sections of trail and build two miles of new trail, which will provide river access to the Lake Fork of the Gunnison and create 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.

Summer Weed Abatement & Trail Work, $15,960 grant to the City of Gunnison 

A Western Colorado Conservation Corps crew will work for two weeks on weed removal and trail work on roughly five acres of open space at Van Tuyl pocket parks, Cranor Hill, Taylor Mountain Park, West Gunnison Park, and Gunnison Recreation Center. Crews will hand-pull invasive weeds and construct 2,000 feet of granite trail that will connect 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. 

2022 Eagle Area Collaborative Stewardship, $23,940 grant to the Town of Eagle 

With increased visitation and recreation use in Eagle County, local land managers have witnessed substantial impacts on trails, open spaces, and federal lands. With GOCO funding, the Town of Eagle Open Space and Trails, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, will employ a Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crew for three weeks of stewardship work. Crews will complete three miles of trail improvements, clean up 750 acres of camping on federal lands, remove 1.5 miles of social trails, and treat 15 acres to mitigate noxious weeds. This project will help protect the natural resources and economic livelihood of the community. 

Wet Mountains Junkins Fire Recovery and Mitigation, $28,350 grant to San Isabel Land Protection Trust

Mile High Youth Corps crew will work on wildfire recovery and future fire mitigation work on three conserved ranches: Wet Mountain Ranch, Lonesome Valley Ranch, and Stillpoint Ranch. Crews will spray or remove noxious weeds, plant conifer saplings, and overstock unburned areas in an effort to regenerate a biodiverse forest in the burn scar and reduce the risk of high-intensity fires. 

This effort is part of an ongoing recovery project from the 2016 Junkins Fire that burned nearly half of the three properties. The project will restore wildlife habitat, reduce erosion and flooding potential, improve forest and stream health, and support landscape resilience. It is slated to be completed by fall 2022. 

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 5,500 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit for more information.