EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) — On Friday, El Paso County received two grants from the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board of Directors totaling more than $150,000.
According to GOCO, the city of Green Mountain Falls received $82,200 to hire Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range (MHYC-SFR) crews for firefighting and forest health work. In addition, the City of Colorado Springs received $70,825 for trail improvements at Austin Bluffs Open Space and habitat improvement and restoration at Smith Creek Open Space.
These grants are part of GOCO’s Conservation Service Corps program. GOCO partners with the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) to deploy Conservation Corps crews to outdoor recreation and stewardship projects statewide. CYCA represents a statewide coalition of eight accredited corps that train youth, young adults and veterans to complete land and water conservation work and gain professional skills.
According to GOCO, Green Mountain Falls is one of the highest fire risk zones in Colorado. Working with the local fire district and private landowners, the city will work with MHYC-SFR crews for eight weeks to establish a continuous, two-mile fuel break around the community.
With its $70,825 grant, the City of Colorado Springs will partner with MHYC-SFR crews for eight weeks at work at Austin Bluffs Open Space and Smith Creek Open Space. Crews will build a 6,650 foot walkway to provide access to the Austin Bluffs in the neighborhood. At Smith Creek, they will apply herbicides to 33.25 acres to control noxious weeds. According to GOCO, they will work to restore native vegetation and protect the habitat of the endangered Preble’s jerboa.
Visit GOCO.org for more information.