Colorado State Outdoor Recreation Grant

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) is pleased to announce the opening of the Colorado State Outdoor Recreation Grant program on June 1, 2022. These funds are made available through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) as a part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

OREC will be accepting applications for roughly $4 million in competitive funding for projects related to economic development and recovery in the outdoor recreation sector. Eligible entities include government bodies, nonprofits, colleges/universities, economic development organizations, and Indian Tribes. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with quarterly review deadlines of March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st of each year through 2025 or until all funding is allocated. 

As of February 28, 2023, roughly $910,000 in funding is remaining, and the March 31, 2023 deadline is expected to be the final deadline. Interested entities are encouraged to submit an application before this date.

Grant recipients will be subject to federal and state reporting requirements, as outlined in the final grant agreements, and will be subject to annual site visits from OREC staff through the duration of the grant.

Due to EDA restrictions, this funding is not available for individuals, private businesses, or other federal agencies. In addition, projects occurring on federal lands or new construction projects may be ineligible. 

Program Manual, (PDF)

Apply to the Colorado State Outdoor Recreation Grant       

Budget Template, (XLSX)

For announcements on application availability:

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Type: Technical assistance and grant

For: cities and other political subdivisions of the State; nonprofits; colleges/universities; economic development district organizations; Indian Tribes

Amount: Varies

Application deadline: Rolling, on a quarterly basis

OEDIT division: Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

Applications open June 1, 2022 and are available on a competitive basis until March 31, 2023 or all funding is fully obligated. Projects must be completed no later than May 31, 2026.

Please note: while funding is expected to be highly competitive, the review committee will be evaluating each application under strict criteria and will award only the projects of highest merit in each review period. Please reach out to the Program Manager with any questions on the program timeline. 

June 1, 2022: Program applications open

Summer 2022 - Spring 2023: Quarterly deadlines until all funds are disbursed. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

Deadlines are as follows:

2022: June 30, September 30, December 31

2023: March 31, June 30 (if needed)

Spring 2026: Project closeout. (Funding may be fully obligated before this date)

Applicants must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Cities and other political subdivisions of the State
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Economic development district organizations
  • Indian tribes

Eligible projects:

  • Outdoor recreation infrastructure upgrades
  • Technical and planning assistance related to outdoor recreation
  • Marketing and promotion of outdoor recreation events and assets
  • Outdoor recreation workforce development
  • Other related outdoor recreation projects

All applications must be submitted through OEDIT's application portal. If you are a new user, the system administrator will need to approve your request. This may take up to 48hrs. You will receive a confirmation email as soon as your account is activated.

Applications received via email will not be accepted. 

Pre-Application Process:

  • Confirm your organization's eligibility by reviewing the Program Manual or discussing with Matt Nuñez
  • Confirm your registration on or apply for a new registration.
    • The EDA will not fund any organizations that do not have an active registration.
  • Gather all required supporting documents
    • One letter of support
    • Project budget (template provided) & timeline

Application Process:

Applications open June 1, 2022

All applications must be submitted through OEDIT's application portal. Although not a requirement for submitting an application, interested industry partners are encouraged to speak with an OREC Program Manager, Matt Nuñez, about their project before submitting an application. Email Matt Nunez

You are encouraged to download a PDF of the application to review the questions and prepare all supporting documentation prior to accessing the OEDIT application portal.

Application Questions, (PDF)

Budget Template, (XLSX)

Supporting documents

All applicants must submit the following information during the application process:

  • Project budget & timeline
    • Please use the budget template linked above and enter only expected expenses under grant funding. 
    • Budget categories may be left blank if not relevant to the proposed project. Matching funding is not required and does not need to be entered in this template. 
    • Organizations may opt to utilize a 10% de minimis indirect cost rate if they do not have a federally-negotiated indirect cost rate. If using the 10% rate, an organization policy for indirect cost distribution must be provided upon request.
  • One or more letters of support
    • Letters of support may come from an elected official, town/county manager, or other community or business leader not affiliated with the primary applicant 
  • proof of registration or application for new registration
    • The EDA will not fund any organizations that do not have an active registration.
    • You should not pay for a registration. It has been brought to our attention that third-party websites will disguise themselves as federal contractors and charge for a registration. Please visit directly to register for free. 
Nonprofit organizations must submit the following information during the application process:
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • Colorado Secretary of State Certificate of Good Standing
  • Documentation (letter) that the non-profit is acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of the state
    • This may be a letter of support from a local government body (City, County, special district, etc.), if not previously provided
    • Letters of support from higher education institutions and State agencies will not fulfill this requirement.

Apply to the Colorado State Outdoor Recreation Grant

Applicants can expect a decision on their award status 60-90 days following the quarterly deadline. Infrastructure projects may take 90-120 for award decisions. 
This is a competitive award program, and not all applicants receive funding. The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) will appoint a committee to review applications. OREC will award grants based on application scores, availability of grant funding and EDA project scope of work approval.

Reviewers will prioritize applications/projects that include:

  • a significant economic impact on the outdoor recreation industry over a broad region
  • strong community support and partners involved in implementation
  • a demonstrated connection to a local or regional economic development strategy or other strategic plan
  • a well-planned project timeline and budget
  • clear writing and a strong case for support

The committee will score applications on these criteria:

  • Demonstrated impact on the outdoor recreation economy or recovery efforts
  • Project-specific criteria 
    • Infrastructure projects: level of need and preparedness 
    • All other projects: level of need and innovation
  • Strength of project partnerships 
  • Budget, timeline, and capacity to implement

Selection Criteria

  • The application review committee will meet on a quarterly basis to review applications, as needed. Applications received after the quarterly deadlines (listed below) will be reviewed during the next grant period. 
  • Applicants can expect notification of their application status within 60 days of each review deadline. If recommended for approval by the review committee, applicants will be required to submit additional documentation for final approval by the EDA. 
    • Recommendation for approval is not a guarantee of funding. The EDA reserves the right to determine the eligibility and allowable expenses of all projects. 
  • EDA approval may take 45-60 days following review deadlines for most projects. Infrastructure projects may take 90-120 days for review.
  • Once an application is approved, OEDIT must execute a formal grant agreement with the applicant prior to obligating or spending any grant funds. Awarded applicants may formally request grant payment(s) after execution of the grant agreement. To received disbursements during the grant execution period, awarded applicants must submit a formal request for grant payment. OEDIT awards funding through electronic funds transfer (EFT). 
  • All funding must be fully spent no later than May 31, 2026.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions that are not answered below, please reach out to the Program Manager for assistance.

My project is not listed under eligibility. Can I still apply?

Any project that will contribute to economic growth or recovery in Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry will be considered for award funding. Please contact the Program Manager if you are still unsure of your eligibility.

What is considered outdoor recreation, for the purposes of this grant?

The OREC office maintains a definition of outdoor recreation as physical activities that traditionally occur in, or adjacent to, a natural environment (not man-made). Projects that benefit activities regularly occurring indoors (i.e. fitness classes) or on man-made field or courts are still welcome to apply but may be given lower priority. Any indoor recreation activities are ineligible for funding. 

Will OREC make any multi year awards?

OREC and EDA expect to make payments throughout the life of the project, as needed by project tasks in the previous reporting period. Recipients should not expect to receive funding in a lump sum or necessarily on an annual basis. 

Can this funding support any activities outside of Colorado?

All funding provided through this program must be spent inside the State of Colorado. Not every state offers this grant program, but you are encouraged to reach out to the outdoor recreation office, tourism office, or economic development office of other states where you may need support.

Can my organization apply for multiple grants?

Applicants are encouraged to submit one application at a time and may not select more than one pool of funding (infrastructure, marketing, technical assistance, other) to apply for at once. Applicants may submit additional applications in the future if denied funding or if they have additional needs beyond the original awarded project. 

How is job creation or retention tracked through this program? Are there any requirements?

EDA and OREC will rely on grantees to report on direct jobs created or retained through funding and provide estimates of indirect jobs supported. There is no minimum requirement of number of jobs created, but this is the ultimate measure of economic impact which will be considered by the review committees. Please explain your methodology for estimating job creation in your application. 

Can you explain the required documentation: Documentation (letter) that the non-profit is acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of the state?

The EDA asks for documentation that the proposed project aligns with the interests of the community. If a letter of support is received from a town, county, or other local government body, no additional documentation is required. Please note that State agencies, State legislators, and public universities will not be accepted for this requirement. 

Are special districts eligible for funding?

Yes, any special districts (recreation districts, metropolitan districts, fire districts, etc.) may apply for funding.

How can private businesses access this funding?

Private businesses are ineligible for this funding pool under Federal guidelines. Eligible entities may apply for funding which utilizes the services of a business as a contractor, however.  

Will projects be considered which do not physically occur on federal lands but may support them?

This will be considered on a case-by-case basis. An example of a project which may be considered is a community recreation plan which incorporates community-wide assets that may include some federal lands. An example of a project which will not be considered is a marketing plan which is solely focused on a national park or other federal land. 

I'm having trouble with my registration. Can you help? is the Federal award management system and is not operated by our office in any manner. Please refer to the Help section of their website for more assistance. 

The OREC office is traveling throughout Colorado to present on our grants and additional funding opportunities and to hear directly from community partners on how we can better serve the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado. Please see below for the upcoming list of locations we will be visiting. More dates will be announced as our schedule is finalized. 

Denver - Thursday, March 9

Date: Thursday, March 9

Time: 3:00-5:00pm

Location: Environmental Learning for Kids, 12680 Albrook Dr., Denver

RSVP here for the Denver Roadshow on Thursday, March 9th.

Adaptive Adventures - Westminster, Colorado - $57,588
Funding will support the Access Adventure program, a program designed to get Coloradans with physical disabilities into the great outdoors and specifically, state and national parks. Program experiences include hiking, climbing, and paddle sports throughout the state. This grant will allow Adaptive Adventures to hire seasonal and part-time team members, including Certified Therapeutic Recreation program staff, that will significantly expand programming opportunities and the experience provided to children, adults, and veterans with physical disabilities and their families.

American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education - Telluride, Colorado - $90,000
The American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education (AIARE) will use these funds to support four instructor training courses in and near Ouray, Steamboat Springs, and Leadville, Colorado during the 2022-23 winter season. The grant will cover instructor and administrative expenses and support training for 60 avalanche educators that will, in turn, benefit clients across the outdoor recreation economy in Colorado and beyond. AIARE partners with 31 employers in Colorado for an expected economic impact of $1.8 million in course revenue as a result of instructor trainings over the next two years.

Aspen International Mountain Foundation - Aspen, Colorado - $25,000
These funds support marketing efforts for the 6th Global Meeting of the United Nations Mountain Partnership held in Aspen, CO. These efforts focus on an outdoor industry side-event that showcases Colorado companies, NGOs, and partners supporting the outdoor recreation economy and workforce.

Colorado Outward Bound School - Denver, Colorado - $100,000
Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) will put this grant toward workforce development and payroll expenses. Half of the funds will be directed toward the Staffing Manager and Community Engagement Coordinator to enhance recruitment and retention throughout the organization. The remaining half will support the Emerging Leaders Fellowship to create pathways into the outdoor industry for people with historically marginalized identities.

Girl Scouts of Colorado - Denver, Colorado - $100,000
The “Creating Outdoor Opportunities for Colorado Girls” program creates excitement about outdoor recreation through camps and by linking girls to education and career opportunities. Through this program, girls learn program development and delivery, group management, risk management, and facilitation skills. They also gain hands-on, real-world practice by shadowing full-time camp instructors and eventually leading programs under the supervision of paid camp staff. This prepares participants for jobs as camp instructors and provides transferable skills that could be used for other outdoor recreation career opportunities.

The Live by Living Foundation - Lakewood, Colorado - $47,000
By funding a Program/Volunteer Manager position, this grant will help the Live by Living Foundation develop the Cancer to 14K program, a ten-week conditioning program for cancer survivors and caregivers across three tracks of progressing difficulty. This staff person will focus on developing partnerships with cancer treatment centers and fitness centers, as well as the recruitment and training of hike leaders to execute the program.

Mesa County Public Health - Grand Junction, Colorado - $74,666
Mesa County Public Health will develop a master plan for the Gunnison Bluffs and Old Spanish Trail area south of Grand Junction. Mesa County is the primary landowner in the proposed project area, with additional segments owned by the BLM and private landowners. The current trail system was primarily created through social ridership, rather than sustainable trail planning and design. The master plan will address navigation and safety concerns along with trail deterioration.

Montezuma County - Cortez, Colorado/Montezuma County - $98,759
Montezuma County is partnering with local municipalities, Dolores County, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Mesa Verde National Park, and other stakeholders to further explore the long-term economic impact of outdoor recreation in the region. Grant funding will cover full expenses and fringe costs of completing an OREC and Cultural Heritage Asset Use Study, an Economic Impact Study, and a Strategic Implementation Plan.

San Luis Valley Great Outdoors - Alamosa, Colorado - $100,000
This grant will fund the development of a master plan for the Heart of the Valley Trail. The trail is a collaborative effort between San Luis Valley Great Outdoors (SLV GO), private landowners, and local governments to develop a 154-mile trail that would span the width of the San Luis Valley. $57,500 of this funding will support personnel costs with the remaining funding going towards a preliminary environmental review, trail assessments, legal counsel, and administrative expenses.

Rocky Mountain Field Institute - Colorado Springs, Colorado - $75,000
Funding to support workforce development and job creation; employee recruitment, pay, and retention; stewardship capacity; and staff training opportunities for Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) seasonal stewardship crews and project management professionals. An estimated 32 staff positions will benefit from this funding each year between January 2023 and December 2025.

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