At its Jan. 15 meeting, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved trail-funding allocations for the 2019-20 Colorado the Beautiful Trail Grants as recommended by the Colorado Recreational Trails Committee. The Committee recommended funding 13 grants for a total award amount of $2,988,006.81.

Statewide Trails Program Manager Fletcher Jacobs highlighted the Committee’s wildlife review process and the importance of “balancing wildlife and habitat needs with recreation needs in Colorado. These trail projects will connect Coloradans to the outdoors with new and improved trails that provide more places for everyone to get outside.”

Background

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Trails Program administers grants for trail-related projects on an annual basis. Local, county, and state governments, federal agencies, special recreation districts, and nonprofit organizations with management responsibilities over public lands may apply for and are eligible to receive non-motorized and motorized trail grants.

Colorado the Beautiful Grant Program

The Colorado the Beautiful Grant Program funds construction or planning projects to increase access to public lands for Coloradans and visitors alike. The program is a unique opportunity that has goals, objectives, and criteria independent of the normal motorized and non-motorized CPW grants that run each fall.

Construction grant applications prioritized connections to existing outdoor recreation opportunities, proximity and benefit to local communities, wildlife/resource mitigation, and improved links to other trail systems.

Planning grant applications prioritized large-scale trail and resource planning efforts, collaborative multi-agency and organization approach, and a holistic balance and evaluation of trail system improvements and wildlife/resource conservation and mitigation.

The Colorado the Beautiful Grant Program is a partnership between CPW and Great Outdoors Colorado. This was the final grant cycle of the program.

Grant Stats

Construction

7 grants totaling $2,365,816

Planning

6 grants totaling $634,082

At the Jan. 15 meeting, Parks and Wildlife commissioners praised the considerations given to wildlife in the grant application process.

Suzanne O’Neill, Executive Director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation, commended Colorado Mountain Bike Association’s Outside 285 project in the Northeast Region, saying their master plan did a great job of balancing the demand for recreational needs with wildlife.

“We’re satisfied this could be a very good spot and a model,” she said.

The Outside 285 project seeks to complete a regional planning effort to connect areas of interest along the U.S. Highway 285 corridor in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner. Connections include areas near Staunton State Park, Buffalo Creek and the North Elk Recreation Areas.

Commissioners concurred that the Outside 285 Plan was a great example of the mountain bike community working to balance trails and wildlife habitat.

A complete list of the Colorado the Beautiful Trail Grants is available on CPW’s website.

About the grant process

The Colorado Recreational Trails Committee is responsible for the review process for the trail grant applications and makes recommendations to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission regarding funding for grants.

Subcommittees for each grant category and their members are appointed for the purpose of reviewing and ranking grants and compiling funding recommendations for the Committee. Subcommittee members include Committee members, representatives from GOCO, CPW Trails Program staff, and volunteer peer reviewers.

After receiving recommendations from the Committee and approval from the Commission, grants are awarded for the 2019 Colorado the Beautiful grants.

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