Published: April 8, 2019 By ,

NOCO PLACES 2020In a new partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Masters of the Environment (MENV) Graduate Program will move to the forefront of Colorado’s efforts to manage rapid population growth and its effects on the environment. Through a planning grant, the MENV program will help shape an “All Lands Master Plan” that creates a system of unified management of local, state, and federal public lands to meet recreation demands for the next 30 years. 

In March 2019, GOCO announced a series of planning grants to help local governments gather public input, evaluate conditions, and develop strategic plans to meet the outdoor recreation needs of Colorado communities. A portion of money goes to NOCO PLACES 2050 (short for Northern Colorado People, Land, Access, Conservation, Ecosystems, Sustainability), which focuses on partnerships between Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jefferson, and Larimer Counties, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, the National Park Service, and other affected communities.

With these partnerships, NOCO PLACES 2050 plans to create an “All Lands Master Plan” that promotes a more effective and efficient management system for Colorado’s most-used lands. The project pledges to be adaptable for an uncertain future, focus on sustainable conservation and stewardship, take a proactive approach to land management, and to create a consistent revenue stream for continued management and maintenance.

MENV will consult GOCO over the course of the next year to help the state organization meet the goals of NOCO PLACES 2050. MENV Faculty Director, Joel Hartter, and two MENV graduate students will work with project partners to help them reach their planning goals. Hartter and the selected students will aid in the development of a report that includes recommendations regarding county-specific outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship plans for the five counties, a regional plan, and an amendment to the Arapahoe Roosevelt National Forest Management Plan. MENV will also engage faculty and alumni to participate in the report’s completion.

Hartter explained that the project will serve as an exemplar for other public lands in Colorado and the American West, and lead to change in the way that places anticipate, plan for, and adopt change using an all-lands approach. He also sees the project as a chance for MENV students to gain professional experience.

“This project is exciting for MENV because it will give students the chance to experience the work they will do outside of the program as professionals,” said Hartter. “Students will interact with and provide information to decision-makers, just as a consultant would do. They will see that process first-hand and contribute to important planning efforts.”

Hartter, students, and other MENV partners will begin working on the report in April 2019. Their finding will be delivered to NOCO PLACES 2050 in the fall of this year.

For more information on the GOCO grants, NOCO PLACES 2050, and MENV involvement with the program, reach out to Hartter at  

Masters of the Environment (MENV)

The Masters of the Environment Graduate Program at the University of Colorado Boulder is an innovative, interdisciplinary professional master's degree that equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to address the complex environmental challenges of the 21st Century. Visit for more information.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO)

GOCO invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state's parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. Our independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created by voters in 1992, GOCO has committed more than $1.2 billion in lottery proceeds to more than 5,200 projects in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit for more information.