The Daily Sentinel, March 17, 2021–Colorado West Land Trust was the beneficiary of a large grant from Great Outdoors Colorado on Tuesday.
The GOCO board awarded a $133,700 grant to the land trust to support added staff capacity as the community and organization responds to the pandemic.
A recent merger expanded CWLT’s service area to six counties, including Delta, Gunnison, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel, which required more staff to adequately support the area’s public and private conserved lands.
This grant is part of GOCO’s Resilient Communities program, which helps grantee partners advance outdoor recreation, stewardship, and land protection work. Funded projects respond to one-time, immediate needs or opportunities that have emerged in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic all within the context of GOCO’s five program values: resource conservation, outdoor stewardship, community vitality, equitable access, and youth connections to the outdoors.
“This support from GOCO will enable the Land Trust to better serve communities across the West Slope as they experience unprecedented use of public lands, financial distress, and the unanticipated pandemic-fueled real estate boom. We are grateful for this investment that will benefit our region today and for generations to come,” said Rob Bleiberg, executive director of CWLT.
The land trust is creating a new regional conservationist position to pursue conservation opportunities in Delta, Montrose and Ouray counties. This position will also develop a new comprehensive stewardship plan to address sustainability, ecological health, and climate resiliency on conserved lands, as well as gather data that will inform a new water strategy.
CWLT, which operates out of Grand Junction, will also hire a new regional director in the second half of 2021 to better serve Montrose, Delta, Ouray, Gunnison, and San Miguel counties. This position will be based out of Montrose.
To date, GOCO has invested more than $45.7 million in projects in Mesa County and conserved 18,000 acres of land in the county.
GOCO funding has supported the Palisade Plunge, the Lunch Loops trail system, Las Colonias Park, the conservation of West Creek Ranch and Highline Lake State Park, among other projects.
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