To recognize the positive impact the Colorado Lottery has had on the state and to honor its commitment to conservation, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has proclaimed October 2020 “Colorado Lottery Conservation Month.”
In addition to returning over $3.5 billion to parks, recreation, conservation projects and schools since 1983, the Lottery is evolving, providing more than simply financial support to its beneficiaries. While it has provided more than $142 million in fiscal year 2020 alone to its partners, it has begun hosting volunteer events with partners to help provide manpower for furthering the protection and stewardship of outdoor spaces.
The Lottery is hosting its second annual “Runyon to the Res” Arkansas river clean-up event Saturday, Oct. 10, with Colorado Parks and Recreation Association, the City of Pueblo Parks and Recreation, and the Nature and Wildlife Discovery Center in Pueblo. Volunteers will help clean up debris from the banks of this important and popular river from 9 a.m. to noon. Interested volunteers can visit the Lottery’s website for more information and to register. COVID 19 safety protocols will be followed.
The Lottery is also partnering with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3-4 and 10-11 to work on the Legacy Trail at Gateway Mesa Open Space near Colorado Springs. Volunteers will break ground on the remaining mile of this new hiking trail, connecting VOC’s work from 2019 to the existing Chuck’s Loop Trail on the eastern edge of the property. Work will include bench cuts, timber or stone steps, and several small crossings of narrow drainages. For this event, participants must be 18 years of age or older. Volunteers can register here on the VOC website.
“The Lottery is becoming a conservation organization, and conservation and clean-up efforts are needed more than ever right now as a heavy toll is being taken by our recreational open spaces due to increased, heavy use,” said Tom Seaver, director of the Colorado Lottery. “That is just part of the reason we are going beyond the financial role that we have historically played in Colorado, providing the funds that have helped conserve 1.2 million acres of open space through GOCO’s programs and partnerships with nonprofit land trusts, local governments, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.”
Part of Great Outdoor Colorado’s (GOCO) new strategic plan includes increasing broad-scale stewardship projects like trail maintenance, ecological restoration, wildfire recovery, and invasive species removal. This increased additional focus on stewardship is an evolution of GOCO’s mission to help preserve, protect, enhance, and manage the state’s wildlife, park, river, trail, and open space heritage.
“Conservation goes beyond open space. It includes every acre of local parks improvement, trail upkeep, new recreation spaces and school infrastructure we help support,” added Seaver. The lottery features a video of Alamosa Riparian Park from its YouTube page.
In addition to marking the financial contributions made to all of the Lottery beneficiaries last year and throughout its history, the governor’s proclamation highlighted the Lottery’s commitment to becoming one of the most responsible Lottery organizations in the country. This year the Lottery achieved the Level 3 certification from the World Lottery Association and is dedicated to achieving Level 4, the highest level of responsible gaming which will be the next step.
Also noted, the Lottery is in the process of reimagining the games it offers to appeal to a more diverse player base, all to increase proceeds to support the outdoors and schools.