News Feb 4, 2015

  • Contact El Paso County Commissioners: keep wind farm 1.5 miles away from Paint Mines.
  • TOPS Working Committee reports.
  • Fountain Creek Regional Trail closure at Carson St bridge.
  • Cheyenne Cañon forest restoration project info.
  • Trail and road closures in Cheyenne Cañon for FEMA work.
  • Bear Creek Park road closure Feb 10-27.
  • Governor voices public support for Ring the Peak trail.
  • Upcoming events.
TOSC logo Horiz grn

Contact EPC Commissioners: Paint Mines.
EPC Commissioners meet 9 am Thurs, Feb 5.

Please contact El Paso County Commissioners before February 5th and let them know that you want the NextEra company to place wind turbines no closer than 1.5 miles away from the Paint Mines. 

No amount of money will “mitigate” the damage to the user experience that close-in turbines would create.
Background: NextEra is proposing to erect a wind farm on 23,000 acres east of the Paint Mines near Calhan. The wind farm company had offered to pay parks $200,000 if it were allowed to place turbines 2300 feet (less than half a mile) from the Paint Mines. TOSC does not oppose the construction of the wind farm, but maintains that in order to ensure the conservation values of Paint Mines, El Paso County should require that the company place turbines at least one and a half miles away from the park.
County Commissioners can and should make protecting Paint Mines a condition of approval for this project.

See the post on our website for more information and contact info for EPC Commissioners.

TOPS Working Committee reports.
COS Parks Projects; Ute Valley plan goes to Parks Board.

Some news from today’s TOPS Working Committee meeting:

  • Parks has a list of 113 projects for 2015! Some of the highlights: Venezia Park groundbreaking (late April), Legacy Loop grant request, Midland Trail pedestrian bridge (March), Cottonwood Trail improvement, new master plans for Stratton, Blue Stem Prairie OS and University Park OS, updated Bike Map, plus a complete updated catalog of all of our trails and open spaces.
  • TOPS Working Committee got a look at the proposed Ute Valley Park Master Plan, which now passes to the Parks Advisory Board on Feb. 12th. Parks Board will vote on the plan March 12th, so if you still would like to comment, do so now. Here’s a link to the master plan.
Carson St bridge closure Feb 2-mid March.
Fountain Creek Regional Trail bridge to open weekends.
Colorado Springs Utilities will be overseeing repair work to the Carson Street Pedestrian Bridge in the Security – Widefield area beginning Monday, February 2, through mid-March.  The bridge is used by Fountain Creek Regional Trail users to provide access over Fountain Creek.The bridge will be closed while the repair work is being completed.  It is anticipated the bridge will be re-opened on weekends.
For further information, please contact El Paso County Parks at 719-520-7529.
Cheyenne Cañon forest restoration.
Ongoing project to increase forest health.

Some members have contacted us about work being done in Cheyenne Cañon, with concerns about the long-term effect of the tree cutting and heavy equipment on the area. We received a very complete and reasoned reply from our City Forester, parts of which we would like to share.

  • The first objective of the project is to increase forest health by removing dead and diseased trees, thinning oak brush so it will regenerate, and re-colonize areas of grasses and shrubs that have suffered from too much shade.
  • The second objective is to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire through scientifically proven formulas: increasing distance between tree crowns, eliminating ladder fuels, etc.
  • Plans are in place to minimize soil disturbance by scheduling the work during a time when soils are usually frozen, and performing soil rehab and re-seeding in the early spring.
  • The contractor is performing to a detailed set of requirements and rules, and is under daily supervision by the City Forestry Department.

Bob Falcone, President of the Friends of Cheyenne Cañon, expressed his support for the project and the Forestry Department, “We are happy to see the city forestry department taking proactive steps to improve the health of the forest and to minimize the fire danger in the canyon. We appreciate the city forestry department efforts to keep the Friends of Cheyenne Canon informed of the project.”
The City Forester will answer questions and respond to requests for more information. Reply to this email to ask TOSC for his contact information.

Road and trail closures in Cheyenne Cañon.
FEMA repairs will close roads, trails–most open weekends.

Colorado Springs Parks Department announced ongoing and new FEMA repair projects in North Cheyenne Cañon, which will impact roads and trails in the area for the next three to six weeks. The scope of work includes slope stabilization, roadway repair, and drainage improvements to repair the flood damage sites.

The Cañon road will be closed to cars and bikes from 9am to 4pm daily Feb 2-6. The Cutler trail is closed because of repairs there. The Columbine Trail and Helen Hunt Falls/Silver Cascade Falls will be open, and the upper parking lot will be open – that will all be accessible via Gold Camp Road.

For more details about the closures and repairs, see the article at this link.
Road closure in Bear Creek Park Feb 10-27.
Use pavilion parking to access County Admin Bldg.
Flood repairs in Bear Creek Regional Park will require the closure of Creek Crossing Rd off West Rio Grande betweenFebruary 10 and February 27. During this time access to the Parks Administration building will be from the parking lot and pedestrian bridge near pavilion #4. Contractors will be removing the damaged culverts and installing a concrete box culvert, riprap and guardrails with paving being completed at a later date.
A map of the affected area is at this link.
Governor supports Ring the Peak trail.
“State of the State” mentions conservation and trails.

Last week’s “State of the State” address by Gov. Hickenlooper at a luncheon sponsored by the Regional Business Alliance had a welcome element for trails and open space advocates–the Governor called for conservation of open lands and pledged State support for Ring the Peak. Ring the Peak has been part of TOSC’s advocacy and vision agenda for a long time–it’s great to hear State leadership get on board! We’ll be working with out partners at Friends of the Peak and other organizations to make this dream a reality.

Upcoming Events
Save the dates.
Feb 5th (Thurs)–El Paso County Commissioners to consider plan to place wind turbines near Paint Mines. See article, and contact the Commissioners!
Feb 7 (Sat)–Guardians of Palmer Park’s monthly park volunteer day9 am. See listing at our volunteer website,
Feb 7 (Sat)–Active Adults Nature Club Trail Talk, 11 am, Bear Creek Nature Center. Our Executive Director Susan Davies will speak about some of the popular and the lesser-known trails in the Pikes Peak Region, covering trail distance, difficulty, elevation gain, amenities, best time of year or day to hike, and much more. Bring your questions! $3 per member, $4 non-member. Reservations required, 520-6387.
Free presentations, all at Mountain Chalet downtown:
February 11th (Wed)–the Colorado Avalanche Information Center will give an Avalanche 101 presentation.
February 18th (Wed)–Fritz Sperry will do a slide show and book signing for his latest title for back country skiers,Skiing the Front Range.
February 25th (Wed)–Vince Cloward will present “Rafting the Grand Canyon,” a compilation of images from his three trips down the river.
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