Paonia River Park among recipients of CPW grants

section of the North Fork of the Gunnison River near Paonia has been designated to receive a grant to improve in-town access to the river.

The Town of Paonia and the West Slope Conservation Center are among the winners of grants from Colorado Parks and Wildlife to improve fishing and shooting range projects across the state.

In all, 17 grants worth $650,000 were awarded through the agency’s Fishing is Fun and Shooting Range Development Grants programs.

“The 17 projects supported through the two programs represent a significant investment in creating new fishing and recreational shooting opportunities in the state,” said Steve Yamashita, Acting Director for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “New access and youth and family opportunities are a high priority for our agency and for sportsmen and women throughout Colorado. The projects initiated this year continue our efforts to expand Colorado’s outdoor recreation foundation.”

Angling improvement projects awarded funding include $40,000 to improve fishing access to the North Fork of the Gunnison with a trail and ramp at the Paonia River Park.

Other fishing-related grants include $120,000 to develop in-stream habitat and angler access on Clear Creek adjacent to the on-going Twin Tunnels highway project near Idaho Springs, $80,000 towards a new fishing pond and angler access at the 88th Avenue Open Space in Thornton, and $25,000 for aquatic habitat improvements on Henson Creek in Lake City.

Shooting range projects awarded funding include $100,000 for safety upgrades and an expansion of the Summit County Shooting Range just south of Dillon, $21,000 for safety and access improvements at the Pikes Peak Gun Club in Colorado Springs, $13,000 for a new shooting range near the town of Campo in southeast Colorado and $17,000 for a shooting education trailer for the eastern plains sponsored by Pheasants Forever.

Funding for the Fishing Is Fun and the Shooting Range Development Grants programs — two of the largest programs of their kind in the country — comes from fishing and hunting license fees and federal funds derived from a federal excise tax on fishing and hunting equipment.

These federal programs, known as the Dingell-Johnson Federal Aid in Sportfish Resoration Act and the Pittman Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, are excise taxes on sporting equipment that fund state fish and wildlife programs otherwise unaffordable.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives no state General Funds. Local matching funds must cover at least 25 percent of project costs.

However, historically local funds have covered nearly 50 percent of project costs, leveraging angler and hunter dollars.


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