Fountain Creek Regional Trail
As many of you recall, 2015 was a destructive year in El Paso County. Heavy rains caused severe flood damage. The Fountain Creek Regional Trail was especially hard-hit sustaining damage on multiple sections of both paved and natural surface trail. The damage hampered efforts by EPC Parks to rebuild and establish new corridors for various trail segments allowing a smooth connection from the Pikes Peak Greenway at the El Pomar Youth Sports Park to just beyond the Fountain Creek Nature Center and Fountain Creek Regional Park.
We are excited to report that El Paso County Parks staff is tackling one of the final repairs to re-establish a connection across Fountain Creek that was blown-out by the massive flooding in 2015. This approximately $2 million dollar project will reuse the existing bridge, move it slightly south and add a second bridge that will allow for the creek to absorb higher-flow conditions without impacting the trail itself. Additional bank stabilization coupled with work to reduce the amount of soil migration during floods, will create a more sustainable Fountain Creek channel. Work is anticipated to be completed in May of 2021! We look forward to working with El Paso County Parks to celebrate this milestone that will connect to the southern extension of the Front Range Trail.
Ever hear of the Front Range Trail?
Chances are you’ve walked, biked or cycled it and didn’t even know it!
Completing the Front Range Trail has been discussed for close to two decades. Winding from Wyoming to New Mexico along Colorado’s Front Range Cities, the Front Range Trail uses existing trail segments like the New Santa Fe, Pikes Peak Greenway and Fountain Creek Regional Trail – to form a 876 mile long trail. Roughly one third is built. A planning process is now underway to complete the trail along Fountain Creek between the city of Fountain and Pueblo. Led by the Fountain Creek Watershed District with grant support from Great Outdoors Colorado, the goal is to come up with a trail alignment that is affordable and achievable. The plan is expected to be finished by next spring.
For more information: http://www.fountain-crk.org/active-projects/front-range-trail
PARK AND TRAIL News
New Friends Groups
Friends Groups are a dynamic way volunteers can have a major impact on a park. In the Pikes Peak region, there are more than 20 Friends Groups led by volunteers who are passionate for the care and stewardship of their parks. In 2021, there will be at least four new Friends Groups bursting on to the scene. The Friends of Pineries Open Space and the Friends of Rainbow Falls held their first organizational meetings last fall. These groups will have more organizational meetings moving into the spring and give more people a chance to join. Later in the spring, two additional highly anticipated groups are expected. A Friends Group will be created for Panorama Park around a theme of safety and stewardship. The Friends of Austin Bluffs will also see a late spring debut. Several groups of UCCS students over the past few years have created the blueprint for this group and now this much anticipated group is nearly ready for organizational meetings. If you are interested in being a part of any of these Friends Groups, please email TOSC Program Coordinator, Aaron Rogers, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Management of Target Shooting
The Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands Forest and Grassland Supervisor released the Integrated Management of Target Shooting on the Pike National Forest project for public comment on January 6, 2021.
The Integrated Management of Target Shooting project addresses the need to provide opportunities for target shooting on National Forest System lands, to identify areas unsuitable for dispersed target shooting, to identify locations to be developed as shooting ranges, and to establish a conditions-based adaptive management framework to manage target shooting in the future. This project will affect recreational shooting on the Pikes Peak, South Platte and South Park Ranger Districts. Comments are due by February 22, 2021.
More info at www.fs.usda.gov
Possible April Ballot Initiative
In addition to Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs has something no other city in Colorado has: a 30-word limit on ballot language.
Let us explain. When City Council or citizens put a tax increase on the city ballot, it must conform to the City Charter. A law passed decades ago requires strict language and imposes a 30-word limit. Ballots in other Colorado cities give voters information about how the money will be spent and provides guarantees of accountability. That’s not possible to do in 30 words. As a result, voters don’t get the necessary details from the ballot language to make an informed decision.
This week, City Council voted in favor of changing the 30 Word Limit by placing the initiative on the April ballot. A second and final vote will take place in two weeks. TOSC’s Board of Directors will take a formal position on the initiative at its January meeting.
If passed in April, the plan is for TOSC to put TOPS on the November ballot with better ballot language providing more clarity and transparency to ensure that these tax dollars are spent appropriately. Simply put, a change to the 30-word limit will provide more information to voters making choices about taxes. One might suggest that a better informed electorate=better governance.
The Friends of the Equestrian Skills Course will be rebuilding “The Pond” at Bear Creek Regional Park. The group put down a layer of bentonite to seal the bottom in 2020. Now they are ready to rebuild and they want your input! Tell them what feature and obstacles you think “The Pond” should or should not have.
Bike Friendly Community Chat
Thursday Jan. 21, 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Join Bike Colorado Springs for an online event to discuss Colorado Springs’s application renewal for a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Ranking. League Of American Bicyclist’s awards BFC rankings every 4 years. In 2017 Colorado Springs was recognized as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly City. For this years’ application (due in February) Bike Colorado Springs wants to update you on the application process as well as get your feedback for a few application questions.
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.