Deadlines approaching for grants for shooting and fishing projects

Keywords: Dolores Star,

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is accepting applications from individuals, organizations and local governments to distribute up to $650,000 for outdoor recreation activities in Colorado. Matching grants are available in 2014 for projects in Colorado that benefit fishing and recreational shooting ranges.

The Fishing Is Fun program is funded by federal excise taxes on the sale of fishing and boating equipment and come to Colorado through the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. The Shooting Range Development Grant Program is funded by hunting license fee revenues paid for by Colorado hunters and by federal excise taxes on hunting equipment through the federal Wildlife Restoration Program.

"These programs are among the largest of their kind in the country, and they're integral to our efforts to develop new and expanded opportunities to youth and sportsmen across Colorado," said Bob Broscheid, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "Over the last three years, we have partnered with local communities, sportsmen's organizations and others on nearly 60 angling and shooting range projects. That translates to 60 places where experienced hunters and anglers can hone their outdoor skills and kids can learn new ones."

A 2008 study by BBC Research and Consulting found that hunting and fishing recreation contribute $1.8 billion annually to the state's economy. Hunting and fishing revenues support 21,000 jobs across the state in businesses and industries that provide direct and indirect services and goods to sportsmen and sportswomen.

Projects to improve angler access, fish habitat and angling conditions can receive matching funding from the Fishing Is Fun grant program. For more than 25 years, Fishing Is Fun has provided financial help to 300-plus projects statewide, including projects to open new ponds and lakes to public fishing, improve fish habitat in streams and rivers and add trails, shade shelters and parking areas. Municipalities, counties, angler groups, and park and recreation departments are among those eligible to apply for community-based projects that will benefit anglers. This grant cycle, Fishing Is Fun has $400,000 in available matching funds to distribute to selected projects. The deadline to apply for the 2014 Fishing Is Fun funding cycle is March 5. Complete details on the Fishing Is Fun grant program are available on-line at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/ResourcesTips/FishingIsFunProgram/.

The Shooting Range Development grant program started in 2009 and will provide up to $250,000 this grant cycle to aid in the development of new firearm or archery shooting ranges or to improve existing ranges.

"The Shooting Range program has helped increase safe and accessible recreational shooting opportunities across the state," Broscheid added. "And the demand just continues to grow."

Matching funds can be used for berms, backstops, fencing, signage, parking or other range components. Acquisition of property for construction of new shooting ranges is also considered. The application deadline for the 2014 Shooting Range Development program is Feb. 5. Details on the Shooting Range Development program can be found at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/ShootingRanges/ShootingRangeGrants/Pages/RangeGrants.aspx.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife also offers Non-Motorized Trail Grants and Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Grants on a separate funding cycle. Applications for trails grants programs are typically available in August with the deadline for nonmotorized trail projects in early November and OHV trail project grant applications due in early December.

More information on the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program is available at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.