News Wednesday May 20, 2020

 

 

WEDNESDAY MAY 20, 2020

Social Distance Restrictions and Memorial Day Weekend

Heading into Memorial Day Weekend, it is important to note that many social distancing restrictions are still in place for our parks. Nearly all the playgrounds and picnic facilities remain closed. Most sports courts are open to individual or household activities, but no group sports. When recreating in high traffic areas, maintaining 6 feet of physical distance and wearing a face covering is encouraged. Over the holiday weekend, our parks and trails will be extremely busy. When you encounter full parking lots or trails too crowded for safe physical distancing, consider returning at a different time or find an alternative place to visit. #GetOutSpeadOut

Crowded Parks to Avoid
Holiday weekend traffic coupled with an overall increase in park use will create some major parking challenges this weekend. These are the parks TOSC recommends skipping during peak hours (10am to 5pm):
 
  • North Cheyenne Canon Park and Gold Camp parking lot (Alternative: Cheyenne Mountain State Park)
  • Red Rock Canyon Open Space (Alternative: Garden of the Gods Park)
  • Palmer Park (Consider Union Meadows Open Space or University Park in Austin Bluffs Open Space)
  • Black Forest Section 16 (Alternative:Black Forest Regional Park or Homestead Ranch Open Space)
  • Paint Mines Regional Park (Alternative: Woodmen Valley Park; it has great rock formations)
  • Blodgett Open Space North Lot (Alternative: Southern Blodgett parking lot, Woodmen Valley Park, or Smith Creek Natural Area)
Leave No Trace
In the Pikes Peak region, our Friend Groups continue to sharpen their skills and maintain their roles as leaders in our outdoor recreation community. Several Friend Groups, along with TOSC and other local outdoor nonprofits, took part in a weeklong virtual Leave No Trace training. The class learned leave no trace principles that they can use during workdays, education programs and when they interact with the public in our parks. With the increased traffic in parks this year, there are new opportunities to turn super users into super stewards. Our City’s Parks Department has set a goal to earn gold level status from Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Learn more about how the City of Colorado Springs is training staff in Leave No Trace.

PARK AND TRAIL UPDATES

Help keep Colorado’s young wildlife WILD
Each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) receives numerous visitors that report they “rescued” young wildlife that appeared “abandoned”. Wildlife experts agree it is normal for adult animals to leave their young in safe places while they search for food. Well-meaning, but misguided, people routinely orphan young wildlife by essentially kidnapping them and bringing them to CPW office. Please do not touch or feed young wildlife. Call CPW 719-227-5200 to report your concern and let certified wildlife specials address the situation. More information is available at: cpw.state.co.us/learn 
State Wildlife Areas will Require a License
Dome Rock State Wildlife Area is among those outdoor spaces that will require a fishing or hunting license to access, starting July 1. Our pal Hiking Bob explains why buying a fishing license to hike in a state wildlife area makes sense, read the full article. “It’s important information, and ‘pay to play’ is the coming trend,” says Bob Falcone.
Pikes Peak Update
Due to construction of the new Summit Visitor Center, Barr Trail has a detour to reach the summit, effective May 16-July 31. The alternate route will take hikers from the end of Barr Trail, down the Cog Railway track bed to the 19-mile point where hikers will access the Pikes Peak Highway and then hike up the shoulder of the road to the summit. Detour adds approximately a mile. Signs will be posted at the base of Barr Trail, at Barr Camp (which is temporarily closed due to COVID-19), and at the detour point. Get more info at coloradosprings.gov or call 719-385-7784.
 
Cottonwood Trail Detour
Cottonwood Creek Trail has a minor detour about a mile east of the Pikes Peak Greenway Junction. Only a small segment of trail is closed and it is passable.

Get Out spread out

 

Looking for a park or trail that has fewer people? TOSC is here to help, check out Get Out Spread Out. Help keep our community healthy, please wear a mask and follow physical distancing guidelines while recreating outdoors. We are all in this together.

The perfect park for a leisurely afternoon stroll, a family picnic, or some duck watching! The park’s most popular and unique feature is the pond, which is home to a variety of ducks and geese. Be sure to check it out!
Bluestem Prairie Open Space has a small parking lot off Goldfield Dr. There are NO services, so please follow Leave No Trace practices and plan ahead. Bluestem is 650 acres of prairie land and is home to a variety of wildlife, including: pronghorn, black-tailed prairie dogs, snakes and birds like the red-tailed hawk, burrowing owl and migratory shorebirds. Due to abundant wildlife, dogs are not allowed. Big Johnson Reservoir is a key feature, but is not accessible. Bluestem is an excellent place for beginner mountain bikers to get a taste of dirt single-track, it has 8+ miles of trail. Hiking and birding are best done in the first 2 miles near the reservoir. This area is very exposed, so avoid visiting during the heat of the day and be sure to bring water.
Looking for a short hike with dogs or kids? Check out John Venezia Park. The park itself can become crowded, but you can access the trails from the southern side. We started our 1-mile hike from the Academy International Elementary School. In the spring you can see a wide variety of birds and flowers.

Community

Pick It Up COS
A local entrepreneur is using the pandemic to keep his staff working – improving trails, parks and open spaces. Greg Wellens of Adventures out West was able to tap into the Payroll Protection Program to keep his folks working, but with state restrictions in place, could not offer recreation opportunities to residents and tourists. Instead they’ve been going out in groups and cleaning up trash in our public spaces like Palmer Park and along Old Stage Road. Kudos to Greg and his employees! For more info check out advoutwest.com/pickitupcos.
Springs in Bloom
Springs in Bloom has 7 plots available for adoption! Springs in Bloom is a program where individuals, families, clubs and businesses can adopt any of the approximately 100 flower beds located throughout Colorado Springs. It’s a way to enhance this great City we live in. For more information, call 719-578-6649, or visit coloradosprings.gov/parks.
Parks to Kids
National Park Trust has some great at-home activities and distance learning opportunities to help bring the outdoors and parks to you. We love bringing kids to parks and in this case bringing parks to kids! Visit kidstoparks.parktrust.org to find fun nature based activities for your family to enjoy.
Musical Monday Concerts Cancelled 
Out of an abundance of caution during this uncertain time, Monument Valley Park will not be hosting Musical Monday Concerts in July. “Our first priority is the safety of everyone involved in our concerts, and therefore, we have decided not to hold public events until the situation improves.” -Friends of Monument Valley Park.

We love spending time outside!

TOSC advocates for local parks and trails. Our members are proud to be stewards of the outdoors. Are you a part of the TOSC tribe?

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