Two grants have been awarded to projects in Grand County from Great Outdoors Colorado, or GOCO, totaling $445,160.
The grants were awarded to the Colorado Cattleman's Agricultural Land Trust, to help protect 1,000 acres of ranchland just south of Kremmling, and to the town of Winter Park, to build a non-motorized trail that will connect downtown Winter Park to the Idlewild Trail System.
The Cattleman's Trust will use the $425,000 in GOCO funding to purchase a conservation easement protecting 1,000 acres of the Upper Colorado River Ranch in perpetuity. The historical working ranch has been passed down through multiple generations and offers scenic views to travelers along U.S. Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 9.
The ranch has more than six miles of river frontage and significant water rights that will be tied to the land through the conservation easement. The ranch serves as prime habitat for a wide range of game and non-game species including greater sage grouse, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.
The Town of Winter Park will use the $20,160 GOCO grant to hire the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to help build the Arrow Trail System, a non-motorized, single-track trail, which will run from Hideaway Park in downtown Winter Park to the Idlewild Trail System, located near Rendezvous.
The youth corps is slated to build nearly five miles of 18-inch-wide trails that provide access to approximately 15 miles of U.S. Forest Service trails.
The construction of the trail will most likely take place closer to fall 201, though there is no set date for the work yet, said James Shockey, town planner for Winter Park.
The town still needs to discuss with the youth corps when they will be able to bring workers to Winter Park. The corps will send eight to 10 workers for three weeks to build the trail.
"We're excited" to complete this project, Shockey said.
The GOCO board awarded a total of $6.2 million in GOCO/Lottery funds to 45 projects throughout the state at its meeting on Dec. 11. Projects are intended to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities throughout Colorado, create plans for future projects, protect 6,720 acres of open space, and create youth corps jobs at no cost to taxpayers.
In its fall 2012 grant cycle, GOCO received 116 eligible applications requesting $19 million.
GOCO is the result of a citizens' initiative passed by the voters in 1992. As the recipient of approximately half of Colorado Lottery proceeds - $57 million in fiscal year 2012 - GOCO awards grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.
Grand County projects have received a total of $7.9 million in GOCO grants.