GOCO grants will help deploy Conservation Corps crews in Larimer County on fire mitigation, conservation projects

The Great Outdoors Colorado board awarded three grants in Larimer County totaling nearly $1.6 million.

With $1 million from GOCO, Larimer County will acquire 399 acres on the west side of Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. The new property is near Lory State Park, contains approximately 1 mile of Redstone Creek, and provides important migration paths for wildlife.

Larimer County will use three grants totaling $85,200 from GOCO to employ Larimer County Conservation Corps crews at Ben Delatour Scout Ranch ($30,000 grant) Cottonwood Run Natural Area ($15,000 grant), and Hermit Park Open Space ($40,200 grant).

Crews will work for one month on the scout ranch. In 2010, a $1.5 million GOCO helped permanently preserve Ben Delatour Scout Ranch, which provides programming to scouting groups from 16 Western and Midwestern states.

The Youth Corps crews will mitigate fire fuels on 100 acres of high-risk land. Invasive Russian olive trees will be removed from a 12-acre area along the Big Thompson River in Cottonwood Run Natural Area over the course of two weeks of Youth Corps crew work. In Hermit Park Open Space, crews will spend six weeks constructing 2 miles of new trails.

The grants will be administered by the Colorado Youth Corps Association will engage and train local youth between the ages of 14 and 25. Corps members earn a living stipend for their full-time service and an AmeriCorps education award to use toward college or trade school.

The City of Loveland partnered with the Trust for Public Land and Larimer County Open Space to receive $500,000 to acquire 73 acres near Morey Wildlife Reserve. The area provides habitat for big game species and bald eagles and boasts impressive views of Longs Peak, Devil’s Backbone Open Space and Mount Meeker. The acquisition will also provide a buffer from residential development, new trail access and access to adjacent public lands.

To date, GOCO has invested $47 million in Larimer County, preserving more than 60,000 acres of land and investing millions into Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and Park, Pinewood Reservoir, and Hermit Park Open Space. Larimer County was also recently named a GOCO Inspire community and will be part of a $25 million initiative to get kids outside.

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