GOCO gives two grants to Summit | VailDaily.com

GOCO gives two grants to Summit

Daily Staff Report

The town of Frisco also was awarded $21,285 to create the Willow Preserve Interpretive Trail & Overlook on the town’s first open space purchase.The GOCO grant toward the B&B Mines purchase helps reduce the $9 million-plus cost of the 1,840-acre property in the Golden Horseshoe area between the French and Swan drainages.Summit County and the town of Breckenrige are 50-50 partners in the B&B deal that is supposed to close in June 2004.GOCO’s money specifically preserves 156 acres of pristine, ecologically significant land on French Creek that survived the onslaught of the gold dredge boats in the early to mid-1900s.Areas the dredge boats hit are made obvious by the piles of dredge rock left from turning the earth upside down in search of gold.The property includes one of the last intact montane riparian willow carrs along a valley bottom in the Upper Blue Basin, and represents what the Blue River, Swan River, and the lower sections of French Gulch were like before dredge boat mining.The natural ecosystem provides habitat for the Colorado River cutthroat trout, a state special concern species.Frisco’s trail and overlook project will be located on the Willow Preserve on northeastern edge of the town’s major commercial area along Summit Boulevard.Once complete the preserve will offer an environmental education experience focused on informing citizens and visitors about Frisco’s natural environment and the native habitat necessary to sustain species that live in the area.The project will create an accessible gravel trail with interpretive signs providing information on wetlands, native flora and fauna and wildlife habitat. The Summit County grants are part of $11.5 million awarded by the 17-member GOCO board, on which Summit County manager Ron Holliday serves.The money will protect more than 40,000 acres of open space across the state and fund 44 community park and outdoor recreation projects.The Board also awarded $26 million to Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.State Parks funds will be used for new park development, renovations to existing parks, trails and environmental education programs.DOW funds will continue to advance Colorado’s nationally recognized efforts in species protection including through habitat acquisition.Since 1994, Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded $384 million in lottery funds for more than 2,000 projects, the board said.To date, projects in Summit County have been awarded $1.9 million.