Lottery proceeds go to expanding national parks in Colorado

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 2, 2010 11:22 am

If we can’t hit the snowy slopes, then we hike the dry ones. We at The Ski Channel have a deep rooted love and passion for our country’s national and state parks. We were thrilled to hear this news. A new state park is being established just southwest of Denver, Colorado. Also, an urban park along the South Platte River will be expanded, and more than 100 square miles of shortgrass prairie will be preserved as a result of park funding. How did the park get the funding? Lottery players.

Great Outdoors Colorado is paying $24 million for these renovations, upgrades and improvements. They get all of their money from lottery proceeds.

Here’s a list of some new projects and grants Colorado can expect:

• Staunton State Park, a 3,700-acre parcel off U.S. 285 near Pine, will get $5 million toward opening as a day park in 2012. It will be the 43rd park in the Colorado state system.

• A grant of $1 million will help purchase a 2-acre property along the South Platte River in Denver that, when combined with adjacent parcels, will create an 8-acre park connecting to the South Platte Greenway.

• Sixty-six thousand acres of shortgrass prairie in Cheyenne, Lincoln and Elbert counties will be protected from development through a conservation easement bought with about $2 million. GOCO is working with the Nature Conservancy on the deal with five families to conserve six parcels that were up for sale along Rush Creek and Big Sandy Creek southeast of Denver, GOCO director Lise Aangeenbrug said.

“We need to do all we can” to preserve shortgrass prairie, a fragile ecosystem that provides habitat for deer, antelope, foxes, owls and prairie chickens, said Gov. Bill Ritter. “They can’t survive the conversion of shortgrass prairie to cropland or suburban development.”

Including these projects, Great Outdoors Colorado has now preserved 643,673 acres.