News Wednesday Aug 26, 2020

We Need More Trail Advocates!
There has been a significant increase in the amount of graffiti, vandalism and litter in our local parks, and all across Colorado! We are hearing and seeing a lot of issues stemming from huge increases in visitation. People are going into crowded trails and using creative, but damaging off-road parking solution. The unfortunate truth is that park staff are unable to keep up with the growing demands. We are calling on our trail community to step up. Peer pressure can be a powerful tool to kindly discourage intentional and unintentional misbehavior. We need more advocates in our parks and open spaces to help educate the public and promote public land stewardship. You can help be a part of the solution.
 
We also want to remind residents that you can submit questions and report issues using the City GoCOS app or online at https://coloradosprings.gov/page/citizen-request-gocosprings-app; or County https://citizenconnect.elpasoco.com/. Not sure if it is City or County you should be contacting? No problem, Colorado Springs and El Paso County will forward the request on to the appropriate authority; the important part is that you report it: graffiti, trash, maintenance needs, traffic issues…
Diversity on Trails
For the past several months, TOSC has been trying to gain a deeper understanding as to why there is a lack of diversity among users on many of our trails. Is it due to socio-economic barriers? Are there cultural barriers?  Is it an issue of accessibility? Is it something else entirely? The reality, we are learning, is that it is all of the above. But one COS woman is trying to break down the barriers to encourage more people of color to take to the trails, and we love and support what she’s doing for Colorado! 

PARK AND TRAIL UPDATES

Cottonwood Park Project
Imagine all the stories the bluegrass on the softball fields at Cottonwood Park could tell. From late inning comebacks to infamous weather delays, that grass has seen it all. This week, that grass is being transitioned to artificial turf. This $1.4 million project, funded by 2B that passed last fall, will replace the natural turf with a synthetic turf that will save an enormous amount of water, improve field conditions and save on the staff time that is usually spent manicuring the fields. The old softball grass is not destined to the back of the compost heap. The grass is being cut into rolls and will be transported to Palmer Park where it will start a new life in a field close to the playground near the Maizeland/Academy entrance. This will save the City $20,000 in disposal fees and provide our community with a new space to relax and exercise in. The Cottonwood softball field project will be completed later this fall and the new bluegrass field at Palmer Park will open in October.

New Trail Ambassadors in Green Mountain Falls
Residents of Green Mountain Falls have answered the call and are stepping up for their community. TOSC was asked to help town leaders create a Trail Ambassador Program and provide training. Within a few weeks, volunteers will be providing helpful information to visiting hikers. The goal of the program is to address and reduce some of the traffic and litter related impacts affecting GMF residents as well as improve the hiker experience. When you see a Trail Ambassador, be sure to thank them!
Palmer Lake Reservoirs will Reopen
The road/trail leading to the Palmer Lake Reservoirs was closed over the summer due to construction. That work is completed and Palmer Lake Trustees this week will consider a resolution reopening the trailhead and trail, pending a final state inspection. As soon as we have an opening date – we will let you know. The trail is popular with hikers and mountain bikers seeking to access miles of forest service trails above the town. Dogs continue to be prohibited on the reservoir trail due to concern for the safety of Palmer Lake’s only water supply. Non-resident parking on town streets will continue to be illegal if the resolution passes. Violators risk a $100 fine. Limited parking will reopen at the trailhead.

TOSC

Virtual Trail Mixer 
Thursday August 27, 5:30 – 6:30pm

 
Our City’s Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program expires in 2025. Without TOPS there would be no Red Rock Open Space, Stratton Open Space, America the Beautiful Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park… It’s a long list! What is TOSC doing to make sure TOPS is extended and expanded? Join us next Thursday and find out!
 
 

 
 
Ring the Peak Trail will one day stretch around America’s Mountain. Learn what the next segment of trail could look like – extending the trail from Pancake Rocks!
 
 
 
 
El Paso County has an impressive “To-Do” list for 2021. Santa Fe Open Space trails, Falcon Regional Park Phase 2, Fox Run Regional Park playground makeover, Bear Creek Regional Park improvements…. Be some of the first to find out which county parks will see changes in 2021.
 
 
Invitations have been sent to all TOSC members. If you have not received your invitation, please contact beth@trailsandopenspaces.org
Not a member yet?  Click here to join the Coalition.

Corral Bluffs Open Space Member Hikes

Sunday September 6, 9:00 – 1:00 pm
TOSC invites its members out for a rare opportunity to hike in the beautiful, rugged terrain of Corral Bluffs with our incredibly knowledgeable friends from Corral Bluffs Alliance. Corral Bluffs Open Space is not open to the public. Enjoy an easy to moderate 3 mile guided hike to observe and learn about the unique natural resources in this protected area. You can expect desert terrain, rolling hills, lofty rock outcrops and abundant wildlife. Corral Bluffs and Jimmy Camp provide 13,000 acres of habitat for birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and unique plant life. Dogs are not allowed. Group size is limited to 10, masks and physical distancing will be required.
 
Please note this hike is for TOSC Members only. Want to become a member? Join Trails and Open Space Coalition by make a donation at http://trailsandopenspaces.org/donate. For questions about membership, please call 719-633-6884.
 
Two Shoes Trek Challenge
Pikes Peak Road Runners (PPRR) and the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) are proud to present a new virtual running event. Be a part of Two Shoes Trek Challenge! This event showcases several county and city trails. All proceeds from this event will support the parks and trails in our community. Please show your support for the outdoors and join us for this fun virtual event.
 
Urban Trail Challenge
Friday Sept 25 – Sunday Sept 27
Join TOSC for the most spectacular virtual biking event in Colorado Springs – The Urban Trail Challenge! All riders will receive an event bib and commemorative buff, so you can identify participants out on the trail. Cruise your favorite trail or explore one of the routes TOSC created to showcase local trail connections and parks across the region. Along the way, riders will have the option to complete different “selfie challenges” ranging from finding hidden landmarks, riding in costumes and visiting as many parks and trails as you can during the 3 day event! Are you up for the challenge?

Community

Evening Work Session @ Ute Valley Park
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Join the Friends of Ute Valley for a Wednesday night volunteer work session! Help finish up the rerouting of 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 TO ACT AS A MASK that covers your mouth and nose (bandanna, buff, etc.). Meet up location is at the Popes Valley entrance to the park.
Celebrating the Birthday of American Wilderness with Prose and Poetry
Thursday, September 3, 2020 07:00 to 8:15 PM MDT 
Many people who enjoy visiting wilderness also like the experiences found in nature writing. Join Wild Connections members as they share some of their favorite wilderness readings in prose and poetry. Authors such as Aldo Leopold, Margaret Murie, John Muir, Terry Tempest Williams, Howard Zahniser and others may be presented. Brief details about the excerpt or the author will follow each reading.
Labor Day Lift Off
Saturday, September 5 – Sunday, September 6
 
Look to the sky – from the comfort of your homes – between 7:30-8:30 am on Saturday and Sunday morning to watch a spectacular array of 35+ balloons participating in the modified citywide celebration, lifting off from 10-12 locations across the city (balloon launch site area map will be available at ColoradoSpringsLaborDayLiftOff.com as the event nears). While balloons soar overhead, tune in to your radio to listen to engaging and historical ballooning commentary. Several “pop-up” Balloon Glows are planned around the community for Saturday evening at 7:00pm, weather permitting.
Virtual 5K Run/Walk: “Run Up to Creek Week”
Plan your own 5K running/walking route, support Creek Week, and get cool stuff! A virtual 5K fundraiser will take place Sept. 4-14. Participants receive a unique recycled circuit board Finisher’s medal, a buff, a racing bib, 2 trash bags, coupons for discounts at four Brewshed Alliance breweries, and a Creek Week button. A raffle drawing for a $100 gift card will go to those who submit pictures of them running, walking, plogging (jogging and picking up litter) or an activity device screen shot.
Limit 150 people. Click here to register!

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