The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) is pleased to announce our 2023 grant application cycle is now open.

Grants awarded from SdCNHA are intended to encourage local cultural and historic heritage preservation activities, educational programs and support Heritage Tourism within the heritage area. Our past grantees have used grant funds to restore historic buildings; provide historical and cultural interpretation; restore or promote scenic, artistic and recreational resources; and to document culturally significant components of the way of life in the heritage area. Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is administered by a non-profit board of volunteers who represent Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla Counties. Heritage area grants are available to local schools, municipalities, and non-profits annually. Please visit our website for more information about our mission, vision, and a list of past grants we’ve awarded.

The selection process is competitive, and applicants are encouraged to develop proposals carefully utilizing SdCNHA’s Management Plan Goals and Objectives. You can find these resources on management plan page. Funding is available up to $25,000. Applications and Guidelines can be found at funds development projects, archeology projects, survey and planning projects, and education projects.

Development projects involve excavation, preservation, stabilization, restoration, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of a designated property or site. Two examples of development projects funded by SdCNHA are the Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Denver and Rio Grande Depot at Antonito and Coach 256. Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Denver and Rio Grande Depot in Antonito was an exterior rehabilitation which included stucco repair and stone repointing. In addition, the historic exterior lighting was restored and new low profile, wood storm windows was fabricated and installed over the restored historic wood windows. The Denver and Rio Grande Depot at Antonito was placed on Colorado’s Most Endangered List in 2007. Coach 256 is part of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Engine 168 and Historic Car Project, which has been returned to a complete, vintage 19th century passenger train, adding a new heritage tourism attraction to the area. Engine 168 and the four other passenger cars are important elements of this project. This has successfully recreated a passenger travel experience popularly known as “The San Juan” as it was in 1915. Archaeology Projects involve the identification, documentation, preservation, and interpretation of archaeological resources. This includes prehistoric and historic sites as well as artifact collections. Section 106 compliance/consultation of the National Historic Preservation Act will be required and should be part of your planning efforts. Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area will assist with the completion of a Section 106 application. The following three projects received grants from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. An example of an archaeology project that was funded by SdCNHA is the Archaeological and Biogeographical Investigations at the La Botica Site. This exceptionally large and complex archaeological site located in the La Jara Canyon; preserves a unique record of American Indian lifeways spanning at least 8,000 years. The site is an important locality for the San Luis Valley’s Hispano residents, who have gathered medicinal plants there in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The demonstrated complexity and time depth of the site’s occupation, combined with its unique biological setting, make La Botica one of the most significant sites in the San Luis valley. The Paleo-cultural Research Group’s multi-disciplinary project aimed to better understand the site’s place in the regional cultural landscape as well as the factors that have shaped it over time. There primary goal was to better document the site and its current condition, and to gather the baseline data needed to reconstruct the history of human use and changes in the local plant community.

Education Projects provide historic preservation information or information about historic sites to the public. These projects can include curriculum development, youth training, lectures, interviews, archiving and preservation of cultural information, etc. Two examples of an education project that were funded by SdCNHA are Congreso de Acequias and the Lifeways of the San Luis Valley Course and Lecture Series. Lifeways of the San Luis Valley Course and Lecture Series is a course and lecture series explored the cultural richness of the San Luis Valley within the context of the multitude of Southwester and Rio Grande traditions. The SLV geography, ecology, languages, and literature along with other elements of regional heritage, such as acequia systems, were exemplified in order to better understand local values and spiritual expressions of place. Congreso de Acequias is a unique event which brings together the acequia community each year to celebrate and strengthen Colorado’s oldest farming communities. Acequias are a critical piece of the Heritage Area’s living history, celebrating the ancestors of those who settled under the Mexican land grants. The 2021 Congreso will give community members an opportunity to participate in the living history of the Acequia Community. It also provides critical water rights information to irrigators, as well as the opportunity to learn, cropping types, estate planning and the protection of an individual acequia through by-laws. The Congreso also showcases Costilla and Conejos County student artwork and writing skills about the Acequia's using the annual poetry, coloring and poster contests.

Survey & Planning Projects involve identification, recording, evaluation, designation, and planning for the protection of significant historic buildings, structures, sites, and districts. This is not for the acquisition of property. Section 106 compliance/consultation of the National Historic Preservation Act may be required for this project type and should be considered for your planning efforts. Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area can help with the completion of a Section 106 application. An example of a survey and planning grant that was funded by SdCNHA is Rainbow Trout Ranch Conservation Project. The historic property is a guest ranch, which has been in operation for over 85 years. Located on the Conejos River, it encompasses 590 acres. Highly visible from Highway 17 (Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic & Historic Byway) it provides substantial wildlife habitat. Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust worked with the owners to protect the land through a permanent conservation easement.

We encourage you to apply for our 2023 grant cycle! Please contact us, if you have an idea for a grant or have any questions about the grant process at email us at, call us at  (719) 580-7366 or visit our office located at 231 State Avenue in Alamosa.

Applicants will be notified of status in October of 2022 and funding will be available in 2023. APPLICATION SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 1st, 2022 by 5:00 p.m. (Postmarked: SdCNHA, P.O.
Box 844, Alamosa, CO 81101, or delivered by hand – 231 State Avenue, Alamosa, CO).