Colorado’s national parks, wildlife refuges, battlefields, and recreation areas will receive new federal funding from the Great American Outdoors Act.
Activities from the United States Department of the Interior supported a total of 62.4 thousand jobs in the fiscal year for 2019, adding $7.4 billion in value and $11.4 billion in economic output within the state. The funding will help to gather the benefits of historic investments made through the Great American Outdoors Act to improve public lands and enhance conservation and recreation.
“We continue to make progress to deliver on the purpose of this historic conservation legislation,” said Margaret Everson, Counselor to the Secretary and Chair of the Great American Outdoors Act Task Force. “We carefully evaluated each deferred maintenance project and land acquisition to maximize the return on investment for the American people and deliver on the promises of this unprecedented opportunity,” Margaret said.
Projects the new federal funds will go to in Colorado are as follows:
- Colorado Road Network
- Provide sustainable repairs on priority roads by correcting safety and long-term maintenance issues to improve visitor access
- Colorado Buildings
- Perform high priority facility repairs to address structural, operational, infrastructure, and security deficiencies to improve employees and visitors’ conditions
- Colorado Building Utilities
- Correct safety, health, and environment deficiencies identified various public and administrative facilities
- Colorado Recreation Sites
- Correct deficient infrastructure at high-use recreation sites to improve safety, access, and visitor experience
- Colorado Telecommunications
- Correct structural deficiencies at remote communications towers to assure ongoing support of BLM and partner agency emergency services
- Grand Junction Air Center
- Repair leaking containment pond integral to regional wildland fire aviation operations
- Rocky Mountain District
- Correct deficiencies to aging wells and water delivery systems serving critical ecosystems, providing important wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- This project will rehab the HQ East water system, which includes the Moraine Park Campground (MPCG) water distribution systems and wastewater system. This project will also rehabilitate MPCG to address drainage and relocate campsites away from wetlands. The project will address accessibility issues and improve roads, parking, and campsite amenities.
- Dinosaur National Monument – $850,000
- This project consists of two tracts of land, one being the final inholding in the Wild Mountain area of the monument, thus completing this particular area’s total landscape. The property contains important native vegetation and is an important wildlife corridor between the monument’s high country and the Yampa River. The second parcel contains the access road to Island and Rainbow Parks. If the owner were to change its use to prevent public access, the Rainbow Park boat launch ramp, one of the principal recreational river launching sites for the park, would be rendered inaccessible. Approximately 15,000 visitors float the rivers of Dinosaur each year.
The Great American Outdoors Act works to address the historically underfunded multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at national parks, American Indian schools, and public lands, as well as funding new public access projects countrywide through the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCF). Approximately $9.5 billion will be dedicated to tackling deferred maintenance needs over the next five years into perpetuity to be invested from the LWCF for new conservation and recreation opportunities.
For more information regarding the deferred maintenance project descriptions, visit https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/doi-fy21-gaoa-dm-projects.pdf or for more information on the LWCF project descriptions, visit: https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/fy21-lwcf-projects-nps-usfws.pdf