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New Funding Colorado 14ers

Colorado 14ers Funding Receives Major Boost From GOCO Stewardship Grant

DENVER, COLORADO – In a landmark decision, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) has awarded $3.2 million to support the stewardship of Colorado’s famed fourteeners, along with an additional $275,000 aimed at the expansion of the Arkansas River Community Preserve. This generous funding, part of GOCO’s Centennial grant, represents a significant investment in preserving the natural beauty and ecological integrity of these iconic peaks, while also enhancing recreational infrastructure and accessibility.

Enhancing Access and Protecting Ecosystems

The substantial $3.2 million grant has been allocated to the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and will benefit a coalition of central Colorado agencies, governments, and organizations, including Chaffee County and Envision Chaffee County. This collaborative effort aims to bolster the resilience of the fourteeners through various demonstration projects. These initiatives are designed to address both natural resource and infrastructure concerns, ensuring the protection of sensitive habitats and the support of equitable mountain access.

Joe Lovorini, NFF’s regional director, emphasized the grant’s role in improving essential visitor amenities such as campsites, roads, parking, toilets, and trails. These enhancements are crucial for the sustainable recreation on Colorado’s highest peaks, ensuring that future generations can enjoy these natural wonders responsibly.

A Focus on Sustainable Management and Community Vitality

The funding will also support specific projects by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, including the development of visitor infrastructure at Kite Lake and trail delineation work on Mount Democrat and Cameron. This not only promises a more defined and sustainable trail system but also contributes to the overall vitality of nearby communities by promoting responsible outdoor recreation.

Chaffee County, which boasts more fourteeners than any other county in the state, stands to benefit greatly from these initiatives. Cindy Williams, co-chair of Envision Chaffee County, expressed enthusiasm for the potential of these projects to establish a foundation for sustainable management practices that can be replicated across Colorado.

Expanding the Arkansas River Community Preserve

In addition to the stewardship of the fourteeners, GOCO’s funding includes a $275,000 grant to the Central Colorado Conservancy. This grant will facilitate the acquisition of 84 acres for the expansion of the Arkansas River Community Preserve, furthering habitat conservation, riparian health, and public recreational opportunities. Wendy McDermott, the conservancy’s executive director, shared her gratitude and excitement for the expanded preserve, which will be opened to the public for passive recreational activities such as hiking and fishing.

This funding marks a pivotal moment in the conservation and stewardship of Colorado’s natural landscapes. By investing in the sustainable management of the fourteeners and expanding vital conservation areas, GOCO is ensuring that these treasures remain accessible and preserved for future generations.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

Learn more about how we protect public lands and prevent SAR calls through education & advocacy.

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