Great American Outdoors Act provides essential funds to Colorado conservation and recreation initiatives
Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act and approved $900 million of annual funds for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to ensure necessary investments are allocated to protect irreplaceable lands and outdoor recreation opportunities in every state. This historic legislation will help direct funds to maintenance projects in Colorado to conserve public lands, waterways and wildlife habitat for future generations to enjoy.
Coloradans have a rich outdoor heritage that involves living life outside and coexisting with wildlife in their natural habitats. In order to ensure that outdoor traditions can be passed down to future generations, Colorado Parks and Wildlife dedicates funds to conservation programs to maintain Colorado’s 42 state parks, 350 state wildlife areas, 45,000 miles of trails, and 23 million acres of public land.
Since 1965, CPW has provided over 1,029 LWCF matching grants totaling more than $72 million to fund local government, trail and state park investments. CPW recently funded the following park maintenance projects to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities in Colorado:
• Heron-Heller/Carpio-Sanguinette Park- Constructing multi-use trails, parking, and a boardwalk on 80-acres of parkland and open space to connect amenities and provide stronger neighborhood connectivity.
• Pagosa Regional Trail Project- Construction of 2 miles of trail to help connect existing trails and access to National Forest trailheads, the Rec Center, and local lakes.
• Bennett Open Space Trail- Construction of 2 miles of soft-surface pedestrian trail, native plantings, and trail signage within Bennett Regional Park and Open Space.
• Ute Pass Regional Trail 1- Construction of a 0.66-mile section of the Ute Pass Regional Trail and implementation of the first phase of the 5-mile Ute Pass Regional Trail Master Plan. This project will provide the only non-motorized connection in the area and connect neighborhoods to the trail and local elementary school.
• Fall River Trail- Construction of a 1.1 mile, 10-foot wide concrete trail that will connect the Town of Estes Park with Rocky Mountain National Park.
“This legislation is a huge win for Colorado because it helps support the outdoor lifestyle we value and pride ourselves on,” said Statewide Trails Program Manager Fletcher Jacobs. “These vital funds will provide additional access and recreational opportunities that connect people to the outdoors and protect the landscapes that make Colorado so spectacular.”
CPW’s conservation teams monitor the ever-changing flows of human impact on state lands to better understand how growing populations affect natural resources and wildlife ecosystems. These findings help prioritize what land maintenance or wildlife conservation projects need to be funded.
“We commend Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Michael Bennet, and the other supporting members of the Colorado congressional delegation for their dedication to bringing this bill to fruition and helping secure critical investments to maintain public lands for Coloradans,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director Dan Prenzlow. “As human populations increase, we have to proactively think about human impact on our natural resources and state lands. This legislation is a positive step to ensure human outdoor recreation is balanced with thoughtful conservation efforts.”
CPW remains committed to collaborating with statewide conservation stakeholders and recreation partners to help secure a quality park system and successful wildlife legacy for Colorado.