Several new funding opportunities for outdoor rec are opening up for Moffat County

Conor Hall, director of OREC, gave a presentation about funding opportunities that will help Moffat County grow its outdoor recreation industry in a responsible way.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry office has been doing a summer tour of the state to talk about upcoming grant opportunities, and to hear from communities about what their recreation economies need.

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

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

The office is rolling out the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Grant, which is a one-time program that consists of $3.9 million in EDA and ARPA funding. 

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

Eligible projects would include project planning, marketing and promotion, workforce development, as well as infrastructure. Applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis, the next deadline is Sept. 30 and the final deadline is Dec. 31. 

Hall said the office is prioritizing geographic diversity in its awards, and they would like to see 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 its visit to Craig last week, the OREC team also shared information on other funding sources available for recreation industry projects throughout the state that are not just limited to government or nonprofit entities. 

Colorado Park and Wildlife also has $3 million in funding through the Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant, which is open to private business, government bodies, nonprofits, educational institutions, and tribal governments. 

Another funding opportunity, which will open up eligibility to private businesses, is the Colorado Outdoor Industry Impact Fund. This is a $1.8 million fund consisting of ARPA, as well as State and Local Fiscal Recovery funding that 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 attended the OREC listening sessions last week advocated that the state office take into consideration that over half of Moffat County sits on federal land. 

Hall said that working with these new recreation grant programs is a learning curve, and the OREC office is happy to help troubleshoot projects. There could be ways that projects on federal land could become eligible, including implementation of long-term land use agreements with BLM. 

OREC staff acknowledged that there are still more people who need to be at the table to represent local projects and said their aim moving forward is to understand the needs in Moffat County and advocate better for the local recreation industry.

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