A number of new funding alternatives for outside rec are opening up for Moffat County

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Conor Hall, Director of OREC, gave a presentation on funding opportunities that will help Moffat County grow its outdoor recreation industry responsibly.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office took a summer tour of the state to talk about upcoming funding opportunities and hear from communities what their recreational economies need.

OREC’s mission is to empower industry communities and people through Colorado’s great outdoors. OREC Director Conor Hall and his team visited Craig on Wednesday, August 24 to discuss grants and recreation in Moffat County.

According to OREC’s presentation, Moffat County reports that 224 jobs are directly related to the outdoor industry, accounting for 4% of the local workforce.

The office introduces the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Grant, a one-time program comprised of $3.9 million in EDA and ARPA funding.

Funding is distributed through competitive awards to governments, nonprofits, economic development organizations, higher education institutions, and tribal governments.

Eligible projects include project planning, marketing and advertising, human resource development and infrastructure. Applications will be reviewed quarterly, the next deadline is September 30th and the last deadline is December 31st.

According to Hall, the office prioritizes geographic diversity in its awards and wants at least two projects from the Northwest corner to receive funding. All projects funded through the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Grant must be completed by May 31, 2026.

During his visit to Craig’s last week, the OREC team also shared information about other sources of funding that are available for recreational industry projects across the state and are not limited to just state or non-profit entities.

Colorado Park and Wildlife is also funded with $3 million through the Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant, which is open to private business, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and tribal governments.

Another funding opportunity that opens up eligibility for private companies is the Colorado Outdoor Industry Impact Fund. This is a $1.8 million fund made up of ARPA and state and local financial recovery funds and will be accepting applications this fall.

The Outdoor Industry Impact Fund is not open to federal agencies, which could create challenges for projects involving BLM land. Residents who participated in the OREC listening sessions last week lobbied for the state agency to consider that more than half of Moffat County is on federal land.

Hall said working with these new recovery programs is a learning curve and the OREC office is happy to help troubleshoot projects. There may be opportunities for projects on state lands to become eligible, including implementing long-term land use agreements with BLM.

Acknowledging that more people need to be around the table to represent local projects, OREC employees said their goal is to understand Moffat County’s needs and better serve the local recreation industry.