News Wednesday Jan 6, 2021

New Year's Resolutions

In 2020, TOSC Office Manage, Sharie Dodge, made a New Year’s resolution to reduce her carbon footprint by biking into work 50 times. We are proud to say that she was triumphant, over the course of the year she commuted roughly 1,000 miles on her bike. Here are some of the tidbits she learned.

·        I discovered several new routes/connections. Like most people I prefer to travel by trail, but many trails became overcrowded during the pandemic, so I looked for alternatives and started using streets, sidewalks and bike lanes in addition to trails. I experienced the pains of trying to navigate with minimal signage and how to cope with getting lost.
·        Communication is SO important. I understand the frustration of dealing with inattentive drivers, inconsiderate cyclists, and oblivious pedestrians. I have experienced each, while being a driver, biker and walker. I try my best to ensure other users understand my intentions; I proudly ring my bell, say hello and use hand signals religiously.
·        I learned that while legally I have the same rights and responsibilities as a car on the road, in practice, cyclists are rarely given the same respect as those with a motor. I’m interested to see how e-bikes will fit into this equation.
·        Prepare before you go. I’m embarrassed to say that I was not always prepared. I learned to change a flat tire, but I did not always carry the right tools with me. I remember on one outing, I had a patch kit, but no pump. Adding a cargo container to the back of my bike was a huge help.
·        I know I can bundle up and ride in cold, snowy weather, but I don’t enjoy it. I prefer to let it be an annual tradition for Winter Bike to Work Day, once a year is enough for me.
·        While some days I dreaded the long uphill ride home after work, most of the time it was a good healthy outlet. It was a great way to unwind and release stress; and it burns fat instead of fuel.
· The view of Pikes Peak never gets old.

PARK AND TRAIL News

Friends of Cheyenne Canon
One of the oldest Friends Groups in Colorado Springs is the Friends of Cheyenne Canon (FoCC). 2021 marks the 29th year of operation for this organization that is known for their events, fundraising and trail building in North Cheyenne Canon Park. In 2020, they had a considerable list of accomplishments. FoCC, in partnership with the City of Colorado Springs, funded the building of new trail segments including a spur of the Columbine trail that leads to the Daniel Pass trailhead, Creekside trail (Columbine to Mount Cutler) and the Chamberlain South trail. All these trails are open to the public. At the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center, FoCC funded the installation of public Wi-Fi and established the Beyer Memorial Fund to honor the late Chris Beyer and support the Hummingbird Garden. FoCC also completed a historical survey of the park in support of a grant application to the State Historical Fund. In 2021, FoCC hopes for the return of public events and will have full volunteer trail-work calendar. To learn more about the Friends of Cheyenne Canon, please visit: https://www.cheyennecanon.org/
A Primer on Parks
You like them and use them, but have you ever wondered how decisions are made when it comes to parks in our area?
Colorado Springs has 135 neighborhood parks, 8 community parks and 15 regional parks and open spaces. If you have a question about a particular park, trail or open space – you are always welcome to contact TOSC for help with answers.
You can also take your question to city parks staff. Their office number is 719-385-5940. And you can attend a Parks Advisory Board meeting, the 2nd Thursday of each month and bring comments and questions during citizen discussion. The PAB is an advisory body to the city council and “reviews matters pertaining to the planning, development, improvement, beautification, equipping and maintenance of public parks, playgrounds, programs, urban forest, recreation facilities and resources.” (from the city website)
 
El Paso County manages 6 regional parks (including Bear Creek Regional Park), 7 open spaces and few community parks, recreation areas and historic sites. EPC Parks Advisory Board meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month at Centennial Hall. Public comments and questions are welcome near the beginning of the 1:30 meeting.
You can reach El Paso County Parks Staff at 719.520-7529. Better yet, send an email with your county park question to parks@elpasoco.com.
 
Questions about Mueller State Park or Cheyenne Mountain State Park?
Cheyenne: 719-576-2016, Mueller: 719-687-2366
The Parks and Wildlife Commission meets six times a year to consider changes in Colorado Parks and Wildlife regulations and policies in state parks. If you have a question or suggestion for the commissioners you can send it to: dnr_cpwcommission@state.co.us
 
And finally we have the Pikes Peak Ranger District, 719-636-1602.
Again, as your “eyes, ears and voice” for trails, parks and open spaces; we are happy to help you find answers.
County’s Park Fee Advisory Committee
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the El Paso County Park Fee Advisory Committee. Applications for the open position are due by February 5, 2021. The Park Fee Advisory Committee meets to establish fair and equitable annual park development fees in lieu of land dedication as defined and set forth in the El Paso County Land Development Code. The committee consists of five members appointed by the Board of County Commissioners for three-year terms. Terms are limited to two full consecutive terms.
The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com.

TOSC

THANK YOU!
The 2020 Indy Give! Campaign is over and thanks to many of you, TOSC finished with $43,325 in donations! This amazing result was made possible by the generosity of 301 donors and 5 matching grant pledges. The 2020 matching grant donors were the cornerstone of this campaign, we are thankful for the support of 45 Degree Gallery, El Pomar Foundation, The Bloom Foundation, Timberline Landscaping Inc and the TOSC Board of Directors. The outpouring of support during Indy Give! Tells us you appreciate our commitment to keeping trails, parks and open spaces open, maintained and resourced. We are thankful for the 166 returning donors who value our mission, and we are excited to have 122 new donors supporting our efforts in 2021. We would like to thank the Colorado Springs Independent and Indy Give! for another fantastically run operation. During the campaign, TOSC was a part of three different collaborative events with other area nonprofits and businesses. We are grateful to have worked with the organizations involved in “Eat. Drink. Give.”, “(un)Trash Your Park” and the “Tri Lakes Collaborative.” To all of you who donated during Indy Give! or helped spread the word about TOSC during the past two months, thank you! Because of you, we have the resources for new projects and programs in 2021

Community

Guardians of Palmer Park Work Day
Sat. January 9, 9:00 – 12:00 PM
Each working group will be limited to ten volunteers. Only preregistered volunteers can participate. Please wear a face mask. Volunteers are encouraged to provide their own work gloves and drinking water.
Group 1 will close social trails. Please meet at the Sentinel parking lot (lot 16). Register here.
 Group 2 will do trash pickup throughout the park. It will meet at the Maizeland Parking Lot near the storage container next to the Baseball fields.  Register here.
 Group 3 will pick up dog waste (and any other trash that may be found) on the Yucca/Mesa trails (the dog off-leash area).  Register here.
 
National Winter Trails Day Scavenger Hunt
Bear Creek Nature Center
Sat. January 9, 9:00 – 4:00 PM
 
January 10th is National Winter Trails Day! Celebrate on the 9th by stopping in the Nature Center to pick up a scavenger hunt of items to spot and find while exploring the beauty of trails during winter. FREE event.
30th Street Closure
You may have noticed the Variable Message Boards out along the roadway in front and south of Garden of the Gods announcing that 30th Street will be closed starting on Wednesday, the 6th of January. It’s true and this is in support of ongoing roadway improvements funded by the voter-approved ballot issue 2C. The closure will be from Fontanero Street south to King Street and will be in place for approximately the next four weeks. Access to Garden of the Gods from the Old Colorado City area can still be had by taking 31st Street and connecting to north 30th Street at Fontanero Street. (see graphic)
 
This work is being performed prior to the major upgrade coming to 30th Street from Fontanero Road north to Mesa Road, scheduled to begin later this year. 30th Street will be widened by 14 feet along this corridor, allowing for emergency access via 5 foot shoulders and will allow for safer non-motorized use, and improvements will be added to allow for a grade-separated trail underpass of the Foothills Trail under Gateway Road. To find out more about this upcoming project, you can visit the 30th Street Corridor Development page HERE
 
We at the Trails and Open Space Coalition are excited to see these improvements taking place along this high-value corridor and have been involved in the stakeholders planning for approximately two years. We’ll continue to monitor the progress of the project and will keep you informed as more details are available and activities due to take place that might impact access to Garden of the Gods. 
Pikes Peak Summit House Closing
The Pikes Peak Summit House will be closed indefinitely to visitors effective Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. Therefore, there will not be any facilities available at the summit. The highway will still be open to the summit, weather permitting.
 
Hikers should be prepared to hike back down if necessary. Current highway conditions can be checked by calling 719-385-7784. Especially during the winter, conditions can change quickly. If adverse weather, including snow, freezing conditions or high winds is in the forecast, it is recommended that hikers postpone their trip for safety.
 
Construction on the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex is progressing with an anticipated opening in spring 2021. For updates on the project, visit ColoradoSprings.gov/SummitComplex. To register to receive a monthly e-newsletter, or read previous editions, click here.
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