GOCO grants support Mesa County efforts

A total of more than $151,000 in grants were awarded to support natural resources stewardship and land conservation in Mesa County as well as construct a dark sky facility at Highline State Park.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) announced the grants, the latest proceeds from the Colorado Lottery to fund parks, recreation, conservation and open space projects across the state.

GOCO awarded a $54,983 grant through its stewardship impact program to Colorado Canyon Association. The association will use the grant for West Slope Outdoor Volunteers and an effort to promote natural resource restoration and stewardship in Mesa, Delta and Montrose counties.

West Slope Outdoor Volunteers will lead stewardship projects, training sessions and collaborative initiatives to address habitat degradation and invasive species.

“This stewardship impact grant is a huge win for all three counties, and we are excited to see how this will allow us to further our collaboration amongst conservation-focused nonprofit partners through West Slope Outdoor Volunteers,” said Morgan Rossway, volunteer and outreach coordinator at Colorado Canyons Association.

GOGO awarded two grant through its Keep it Colorado transaction cost assistance program to the Colorado West Land Trust based in Grand Junction. The grants help cover the costs associated with conservation easements.

With a $50,100 grant, the Colorado West Land Trust will protect a total of 22.83 acres of orchards on four parcels near Palisade. The orchards produce peaches, apricots, cherries, pears and plums. The parcels also include a u-pick business and roadside fruit stand. With a $25,000 grant, the land trust will conserve Bookcliff Vineyard and its tasting room as well as 20 acres of vineyards near Palisade.

A $20,948 grant to Colorado Parks and Wildlife will fund a dark sky viewing location and amphitheater at Highline State Park north of Loma. The New Horizons Amphitheater will host astronomy events as well as environmental programs, outdoor meetings and school field trips.

The grant was awarded through a collaboration between GOCO and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

To date, GOCO has awarded more than $49 million in grants for projects in Mesa County and participated in projects to conserve 18,283 acres of land. GOCO funding supported the Colorado Riverfront Trail, Las Colonias Park in Grand Junction and Riverbend Park in Palisade.