GOCO awards San Isabel two youth corps grants

Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded two, $18,000 youth corps grants to San Isabel Land Protection Trust for work to be completed next summer.

Mile High Youth Corps crews will remove unhealthy trees to improve wildlife habitat and reduce wildfire risk on Music Meadows Ranch and carry out critical wildfire recovery work on a San Isabel conservation property burned in the 2016 Junkins Fire.

At Music Meadows, crews will use removed trees to build erosion-control structures in erosion-prone areas on the ranch.

At the conservation property near Wetmore, crews will plant new trees and build structures from natural materials to stabilize the soil and control flooding. The erosion control structures will be built from downed, burned trees laid out to mimic the natural pattern of falling trees. The work will reduce safety hazards and will kickstart habitat recovery for the area’s abundant wildlife species.

This past summer, Mile High Youth Corps crews worked at Duckett Creek Ranch near Westcliffe. The crews removed debris from the 2011 Duckett Creek Fire and cleared understory to encourage the growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs that provide essential cover and food for wildlife.

GOCO awards youth corps funding through the Colorado Youth Corps Association, a statewide coalition of nine accredited youth corps that engage and train youth, young adults and veterans (ages 14 to 25) to work on land and water conservation projects.

Corps members earn a stipend for their full-time service and an AmeriCorps education award to use toward college or reducing existing student loans. About 1,700 young people participate annually.

Youth corps projects also include educational and professional development opportunities for corps members. Local agency partners will discuss relevant career paths, such as forest management, emergency management, and search and rescue.

To date, GOCO has invested $6.4 million in projects in Custer County and helped protect more than 12,400 acres in the county. GOCO funded Westcliffe’s Memorial park and Silver Cliff’s town park, and a GOCO grant helped conserve Music Meadows Ranch in 2008.

GOCO 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 5,000 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.

 

 

Janet Smith

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  • “Placing a conservation easement on our family ranch assures us of what WON'T happen to the land and water when we're gone.”

    – Bill Donley, fourth-generation rancher