CREEDE – The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded an $18,683 grant last Thursday to Creede State Wildlife Area to convert overgrown ponds to a youth-only fishing pond.
The grant is part of GOCO’s CPW Director’s Innovation Fund (DIF), a partnership between GOCO and CPW to create a funding source for one-time, innovative projects that would not otherwise receive funding from either organization. CPW receives half of GOCO’s funding each year for statewide programs, wildlife, and state parks through an annual investment proposal, however many innovative, small-dollar projects fall outside current funding parameters.
The nearest public fishing lake is more than 20 miles away, and the newly funded project at the state wildlife area will build a kid-friendly pond within walking distance of the local public school. In addition to being more convenient for families, creating a youth-only pond will give local kids an opportunity to learn to fish in a less competitive environment than the tourist-packed areas on the Upper Rio Grande.
Mineral County Road and Bridge has already donated a significant amount of heavy equipment and operator time for preliminary site preparation work. Mineral County re-contoured the pond, placed large boulders in it to improve fish habitat, and removed overgrown vegetation.
GOCO funding will help CPW rehabilitate a well that has not been used for at least 30 years. The agency owns water rights to the well, but it needs a new pump and water supply line to become operational again.
Fishing clinics will be scheduled through Creede Public Schools and other community organizations like the Creede Elks Club, which has also donated funding to the project. The pond will also host angler education events and fishing derbies for local kids.
The state wildlife area will begin removing sediment and rehabbing the well this spring, with construction on the pond wrapping up by the end of summer. The pond should be open to the public by fall 2018.
To date, GOCO has invested $5.5 million in projects in Mineral County and has conserved more than 4,200 acres of land there. GOCO funding has supported Creede’s Basham Park, San Luis Valley Inspire, and the Creede skate park, among other projects.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,000 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.