Photo: Two (2) Derecho events brought thousands of trees down this summer, and Headwaters Trails Alliance (HTA) received OLRT funds to cut the trees and clear the trails for safety. Photo courtesy HTA
Grand County’s Open Lands, Rivers and Trails (OLRT) Fund has begun accepting applications for their sixth funding cycle of the program.
Passed by voters in November 2016, the funds are collected via a .03% county sales tax, generating millions of dollars in funding thus far. The OLRT fund has a ten-year sunset provision and will expire at the end of 2026, unless reinstated by Grand County voters.
The purpose of the OLRT Fund is threefold:
- Keeping water in the Colorado River and other rivers for agriculture, ranching and outdoor recreation.
- To the protection, conservation, and acquisition of agricultural lands, natural areas, scenic open lands, wildlife habitat, wetlands, and river access.
- To the maintenance of hiking and biking trails.
The Fall 2020 Grant Cycle opened on September 21, when applications were posted. Applications must be submitted by October 23, 2020 to be considered in this grant cycle. The Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Advisory Committee (OLRTAC) will make their recommendations for funding to the Grand County Board of County Commissioners at their December 8, 2020 meeting.
Eligible applicants include:
- Grand County, incorporated municipalities located within Grand County, and qualified nonprofit land conservation organizations as defined at 26 U.S.C §170(h)(3) or as accredited to hold conservation easements by the Land Trust Alliance Commission may submit grant applications requesting funding for the following: less than fee interests in real property, fee simple or water rights acquisition.
- Grand County, incorporated municipalities located within Grand County, and nonprofit organizations may submit grant applications requesting funding for the maintenance of hiking and biking trails. Funding for trail maintenance purposes is capped at 15% of the funds available for grant awards.
- Partnerships with municipalities or the County can also apply.
In the past 5 grant cycles, over $3 million in sales tax dollars have been awarded for open space, river preservation and trail maintenance projects. As of the end of July 31, 2020, there is $170,978.43 in available funds for trails (15%) and $1,164,322.70 in the open lands/rivers portion of the OLRT fund. The fund continues to grow as sales tax is collected and the OLRTAC’s oversight ensures every dollar spent benefits the residents and visitors of Grand County.
To learn more or apply, visit co.grand.co.us.