DENVER – The Great Outdoors Colorado board awarded a $43,500 grant to Montezuma Land Conservancy on Monday for the land trust’s Community Conservation Initiative.
The grant is from GOCO’s conservation excellence program, which provides a funding source for studies and pilot projects that improve best practices in land conservation.
The Community Conservation Initiative will explore a new business model for land trusts and land conservation in Colorado. The traditional model relies on project fees from new conservation easements, which are the voluntary legal agreements between landowners and land trusts that place property under protection from development.
The Montezuma Land Conservancy plans to embark on an effort to increase local awareness and education on land conservation in order to help ensure the organization’s sustainability. It plans to create a whitepaper about the initiative to share with land trusts across Colorado.
GOCO says it has invested $9.2 million in Montezuma County and has conserved more than 4,800 acres of land. GOCO funding has supported the Montezuma Land Conservancy’s $6.7 million project to conserve land along the San Juan Skyway in addition to a number of local outdoor recreation projects in Cortez, Dolores, Mancos and nearby communities. Projects include Cortez’s ballfields and municipal pool, Ron Kotarski Jr. Memorial Playground in Dolores and Cottonwood Park in Mancos.
Montezuma County was also recently named a GOCO Inspire community and will be part of a $25 million initiative to help kids get outside.
Great Outdoors Colorado invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. Its independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 4,700 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.