Grand Valley coalition joins in initiative promoting outdoors

A coalition that includes the City of Grand Junction has been selected to participate in an effort to encourage Colorado residents, particularly children, to enjoy and care for the outdoors.

The coalition — which also includes the Colorado Canyons Association, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Mesa Land Trust, Riverfront Foundation and Riverside Educational Center — was selected for the Great Outdoors Colorado Inspire Initiative.

The initiative is designed to inspire people to take more interest in the outdoors and outdoor recreation. By one estimate, children in the United States spend an average of only four to seven minutes a day outside in unstructured play, half of what their parents did. Meanwhile, research indicates time spent outdoors benefit children not only physically, but also cognitively, emotionally and socially.

The Grand Junction coalition received $75,000 from Great Outdoors Colorado to conduct targeted outreach efforts in the Orchard Mesa and Riverside areas.

The planning effort will help to develop and solidify opportunities for improvements to local places and existing programming, enhancing existing programs and development plans — especially those related to the Colorado River corridor and Riverfront Trail.

At the conclusion of the planning effort, the Grand Junction coalition will have the opportunity to apply for an implementation grant ranging from $1 million to $5 million.

Great Outdoors Colorado invests a portion of lottery proceeds to preserve and enhance open spaces, parks, rivers, trails and wildlife. Great Outdoors Colorado awards grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Since 1992, GOCO has funded more a total of more than 4,500 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties.