News Wednesday July 29, 2020

Friends Groups Update
Dedicated, persistent and creative. These words describe the Friends Groups volunteering in the parks and open spaces across the Pikes Peak region. The pandemic has made large group activities impossible and created a logistical challenge for coordinating workdays.
The Guardians of Palmer Park, Friends of Ute Valley Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park Trail Dogs and Timber Tigers, Manitou CATS and Friends of the Equestrian Skills Course have kept up with regular workdays, adapting new guidelines to ensure hardworking volunteers are kept safe.
The Friends of the Monument Preserve are back at work rehabbing trails; and the Friends of Peregrine Open Spaces and Parks continue to work in small groups to maintain Blodgett Open Space. The Friends of Mueller State Park have been busy planting new flowers and bushes in the garden near the Visitor Center.
Our Friends at Cheyenne Mountain State Park have teamed up with Park staff to form a brand-new volunteer Trail Ambassador program! Less than a month since its creation, and the program is already a success with dozens of great positive interactions with the public.
The Friends of Monument Valley Park produced an amazing virtual wildflower walk. A bountiful year for flowers in Monument Valley Park has provided a neat virtual experience for everyone on Facebook to enjoy.
Other groups around the region are leading small group hikes. Everyone is sharing fun and engaging content on social media to help keep our community connected. Fundraising and advocacy events have shift to the virtual realm, but there is still a lot of support for our parks and trails. In El Paso and Teller Counties, we are fortunate to have fantastic community of volunteers who supplement the great work being done by government agencies and land managers.
The Great American Outdoors Act Passes in Congress
The National Park system as well as other natural resource agencies have suffered under reduced funding for years. But Congress recently passed, and the President has promised to sign, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). This act will accomplish two things; it will address the backlog of deferred maintenance in National Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management areas and National Wildlife Refuges and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Our National Parks will receive $1.3 billion per year for five years to address a backlog of repairs. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive $3 billion to address necessary repairs to trails, buildings, roads and other failing infrastructure.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was created in 1965 but has only been funded once at the authorized level of $900 million. The funds from this act are distributed to states to safeguard important natural areas and provide outdoor recreation opportunities. GAOA will provide a permanent source of revenue for this important conservation tool. The State of Colorado will receive a share of these funds, administered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

PARK AND TRAIL UPDATES

Detour on Barr Trail Extended through August
The temporary detour from the end of Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak will remain in effect until August 31, 2020, due to construction delays.
The alternate route takes hikers down the Cog Railway track bed to the 19-mile point where hikers then access the Pikes Peak Highway to hike up the shoulder of the road to the summit. Find more info on our blog.
Bancroft Park

The completion of significant renovations to Bancroft Park in Old Colorado City were celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the park last week. The renovation, spurred by a fire in 2017, was driven by a community-led effort to reinvigorate the space. Improvements include: a new automated restroom with self-cleaning features, renovated event plaza for special events, updated play area and accessibility improvements throughout the park.
Construction on Rock Island Regional Trail

El Paso County Parks’ section of the Rock Island Regional Trail runs parallel to US Hwy 24 between the towns of Falcon and Peyton. Starting Monday, July 27th a construction project will begin at Rock Island Trailhead, extending through August 10th. The area will be closed to the public on Aug. 3 – 7th for parking lot resurfacing. If you have any questions please contact El Paso County Parks 719-520-7529. Learn more.
Fire Mitigation at Ute Valley Park

CS Fire Department & City Forestry have started working on a fire mitigation project at Ute Valley Park. Operations will run Monday – Friday, 7:00am – 7:00pm, for the next 3-4 weeks (weather dependant). Minimal impact is expected for public areas, but intermittent, isolated trail closures are possible as they mitigate 14.5 acres in the park.

TOSC

TOSC PHOTO CONTEST – ENTER TO WIN INCREDIBLE PRIZES

Scroll through your phone and pick your favorite photo(s) to submit for a chance to win fantastic prize packages! All proceeds will benefit the Trails and Open Space Coalition, so no matter what, you still win, because you are supporting the outdoor spaces you love. Runner-up prize packages for each category will include: $25 Kangaroo Coffee gift card and a TOSC t-shirt. Only 3 days left to enter!

                     For more information or to enter your photo visit:                                                    trailsandopenspaces.org/PhotoContest

Submissions due by Friday July 31, 2020.
 We want to see your everyday experiences. No filters. No edits. It’s so easy, you can submit photos right from your phone.

Member Hikes and Bike Ride

Hikes – Sat. August 1, 8:00 and 8:30 AM
Bike Ride – Fri. August 14, 8:00 AM
TOSC is excited to gather with a small group of members to explore the region’s newest open space – the Pineries. This Saturday, join Hiking Bob for a fantastic 9 mile loop around the entire area; or join TOSC’s Executive Director, Susan Davies, for a peaceful 5 mile out and back hike. One of the best ways to experience this majestic space is on bike, so we are also offering a group ride with our favorite Community Engagement Professional, Allen Beauchamp, on Friday August 14. In accordance with current state health regulations, each group will be limited to 10 participants – plus the trail leader. Social distancing and/or masks will be required.
 
 
Please note these outings are for TOSC Members only. Want to become a member? Join the Trails and Open Space Coalition by making a donation online. For questions about membership, please email Sharie@trailsandopenspaces.org.
SAVE THE DATE for TOSC Member Trail Mixer 
Thursday August 27, 5:30 – 6:30pm

Join the TOSC team for another virtual Trail Mixer. Get up-to-date info about trail projects, park news and enjoy some quality time with your outdoor community from the comfort of home. We are still finalizing our guest speakers, so if you have a topic that you would like to hear more about or a project on which you would like an update, please let us know; email Beth@trailsandopenspaces.org.
Invitation will be emailed directly to members.
Not a member yet?  Click here to join the Coalition.
Looking to Get out – Spread out? Check out South Slope
For 100+ years, the South Slope of Pikes Peak was closed to the public. The Trails and Open Space Coalition was one of many organizations committed to reopening South Slope to the public. Managed by Colorado Springs Utilities, the South Slope contains some of the purest water in the region and some very large trout in its natural lakes and reservoirs. Now you too can walk or bike lovely trails or wet a line in Mason or McReynolds Reservoirs. Three trails for a total of 16 miles.The South Slope is open Thursday – Saturday, 7:30-3pm, weather permitting. Due to limited parking, permits are required. To make a reservation: coloradosprings.gov/southslope
Cost: $20/vehicle with 8 person maximum.
Visit Get Out Spread Out for more adventure ideas.
16444 Gollihar Rd, Peyton, CO 80831
Homestead Ranch is the perfect place for families with kids. The park features several miles of easy-moderate hiking trails (not necessarily stroller friendly), a pond, picnic tables under pavilions, a playground, wide open fields for playing ball, and bathrooms. The trails are loops, so you can customize the length of your hike.

Community

Wed. July 29, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Bike Colorado Springs is teaming up with Bicycle Colorado to offer insights into what they’re doing to build the bike community in the Pikes Peak region, infrastructure projects around the city (and beyond), education programming, and other ways you can get involved. This conversation will be about advocacy in Colorado Springs, but attendees from all over the state can learn from Colorado Springs’ leadership.
Ute Valley Park Evening Work Session
Wednesday, August 5, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
1220 Popes Valley Drive
Join the Friends of Ute Valley Park for a Wednesday night volunteer work session! Help reroute the Popes Valley entrance and drainage on Winding Woods while practicing social distancing. Please wear pants and closed-toe shoes, bring work gloves, sunscreen, water, snacks and you must wear something that covers your mouth and nose (bandanna, buff, etc). Meet up location is at the Popes Valley entrance. You must pre-register to participate in this event!
The Pikes Peak Region’s Outdoor Recreation: At Risk or Resilient?
An honest conversation of today’s realities leading to solutions for the future
Tuesday August 11th and Thursday, August 20th 9:00-10:30 AM
The challenges facing the Pikes Peak region’s outdoor recreation and natural places have been magnified and become even more urgent with the pandemic. Although we have come together as a community in the past and made progress that has brought us to today, significant concerns face our future. PPORA has brought together a fantastic lineup of speakers who will give us a frank assessment of the region’s challenges, as well as some potential solutions and success stories from other communities.
The future of our majestic landscapes and recreational assets matter to all of us who call this region home – for our quality of life, economic vitality, and our health and wellbeing as so many have come to realize during this pandemic.
To learn more and register for the FREE event, go to ppora.org.

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