With clean air and water, beautiful landscapes, vibrant small towns, fantastic recreation and friendly people, our community shares a compelling vision for this place we call home. Quality of life is valued so much that many of us continue to make sacrifices just to be here.

Chaffee Common Ground enhances the community’s quality of life and that of future generations by helping to ensure healthy forests, beautiful rural landscapes, and sustainable recreation opportunities into the future. These values were identified by the Envision Chaffee County community planning initiative that, in 2017, created a vision to achieve as the county grows and changes. 

Common Ground supports locally based, collaborative programs and projects through a transparent grant process that leverages a portion of sales tax revenues to achieve the highest impact. Grants are evaluated using criteria available to all applicants, and are scored with a rubric that directly ties awards to the ballot initiative approved by voters in 2018. 

To date, $7.7 million in grants has been awarded to 38 local groups and partnerships for more than 70 programs and projects. Matching investments and in-kind contributions for these grants will bring more than $27 million in value to the community. Fund allocations are as follows, according to the ballot measure:

  • 25% for Strengthening Forest Health
  • 25% for Conserving & Supporting Working Lands
  • 5% for Managing Recreation Growth Impacts
  • 45% for Discretionary Fund to be allocated among the 3 categories
  • 5% cap on Administration

The Common Ground Citizens Advisory Committee oversees the program and recommends grant awards to local governments, nonprofit organizations and groups. The committee strives for balance in funding as outlined above, which means 40-45% of revenues toward Forest Health and Sustainable Agriculture and up to 10% for Recreation Management. County Commissioners make final grant decisions.

Common Ground protects some of the county’s most spectacular scenic views, the health of forest ecosystems, watersheds and wildlife and their habitats. The Common Ground Fund helps preserve our community’s unique character and enhances the assets that support our economy. Please view the 2022 Annual Report for details about program investments and activities.