Granby " Snow Mountain Ranch gets $646,000 GoCo grant to preserve undeveloped land | SkyHiNews.com

Granby " Snow Mountain Ranch gets $646,000 GoCo grant to preserve undeveloped land

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

A $646,000 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant will help purchase a conservation easement to preserve 2,950 acres at YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch, GOCO board officials announced Friday.

“Instead of selling the land outright, which many outdoor camps are being forced to do to continue operating, the sale of the easement will allow the YMCA of the Rockies to establish an endowment for its programs without disposing of its most important asset,” said GOCO Communication Director Chris Leding.

The conservation effort is occurring in two phases and eliminates the possibility of subdivision development.

“The project is in place to protect the primitive, forested land and the upper Pole Creek watershed on the Ranch,” Leding said, “while enabling the YMCA to continue the tradition of year-round public access for outdoor recreation and sustain its educational programs for young people.”

The U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program is the primary source of funding for the project. It has identified this effort as a very high priority, according to GOCO.

In an area that is developing at a rapid rate, Snow Mountain Ranch is deemed attractive for development with its accessibility from County Road 53, an extensive trail system, availability of water, and direct access to the Arapaho National Forest.

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Open space land preservation grants are part of GOCO’s efforts to buy or place lands in conservation for passive recreation.

The grants tend to be larger dollar amounts, Leding said, and Snow Mountain Ranch’s “is in the realm of larger open space grants,” she said, which usually are awarded up to $750,000.

The grant is one of 47 awarded by the GOCO Board to close out its fiscal year on June 30.

As much as $8.4 million will be distributed based on board decisions that were made last week. The grants will enhance community outdoor recreation opportunities in 32 counties and protect 12,833 acres of open space.

Hot Sulphur park grant

Lottery grants awarded also include local park and outdoor recreation grants, for which the town of Hot Sulphur Springs was also selected, for its Pioneer Park Camp relocation project.

This project was awarded $26,235, which will be used to relocate the overnight camping areas along the Colorado River in Pioneer Park to an area adjacent to the river. Because mixed-use visitors, such as overnight campers, anglers, hikers, bird watchers and other visitors use the riparian corridor, the vegetation, plants, and trees are feeling the impacts of overuse.

The camping areas will be moved to a meadow adjacent to the river, and the riparian corridor will be fenced off for day-use only.

According to GOCO, camping facility improvements include well-defined camping pads, new picnic tables and fire pits, signs, and landscaping such as cottonwoods and native roses for screening.

“As a Grand County resident and GOCO Board member, I am particularly pleased that the Snow Mountain Ranch and Hot Sulphur Springs projects were selected for funding,” said Matt Sugar of Tabernash, who represents the 2nd Congressional District on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board.

“Our local leaders who supported these projects recognize the value they will bring to our communities for years to come.”

Great Outdoors Colorado is the results of a citizens initiative passed in 1992.

It receives approximately half of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve, protect and enhance Colorado’s wildlife, park, river, trail and open space heritage.

Since 1994, GOCO-awarded projects in Grand County have amounted to about $3.7 million.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

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