A Hinsdale County nonprofit recently received a sizable state grant to help it with a public access easement along the Lake Fork of the Gunnison.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife awarded the Lake Fork Valley Conservancy $33,000.
Camille Richard, the executive director of the organization, said the grant will help fund the second phase of its river restoration project in Lake City.
Last fall, the conservancy restored the lower part of Henson Creek, the main tributary of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison. The the tributary and its confluence run through the heart of the town.
"What stage II involves is going is going downstream from the confluence, through the north part of town," Richard said. "That stretch is primarily private land with a lot of streets and alleys that cross the river, but there’s one section where we have the potential to try and gain public access and turn that area into a type of river park."
Parks and wildlife gave the grant to the conservancy to help improve angling opportunities in the area.
"If you look at the Lake Fork from say Lake San Cristobal down through where it dumps into Blue Mesa Reservoir, I’d say easily 90 percent of it is private," she said. "So getting public access along the river is important really especially for [Lake City] because we are a tourism-based economy with fishing as a very prime attraction for our visitors."
In total, CPW awarded more than $200,000 in matching grants to six projects across the state through its Fishing is Fun Program this year.
In Western Colorado, the Rio Blanco Water Conservation District got $70,000 to build an ADA compliant fishing pier on Kenney Reservoir. The city of Rifle received $30,000 to build a new boat ramp on the Colorado River. Additionally, the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas got more than $20,000 dollars to build a new parking and access trail at the Headwater Ranch in Lake County.