News Wednesday Jan 27, 2021

30 Word Limit
“I do”, “I’m sorry,” In rare cases much can be conveyed in just a couple of words. But most of the time we NEED more words! “I have a great trail to tell you about. One of our favorites, it’s located on the east end of Red Rock Open Space. Park at the west end of” OOPS….I’M OUT OF WORDS! That was 30 words. All we tried to do was direct you to Contemplative Trail. Imagine trying to explain a ballot initiative to someone who knows very little about TOPS. Or LART. Practically impossible. When the 30 word limit was added to the City Charter decades ago, it was purposely done to make it difficult to pass tax increases in Colorado Springs. No other city in Colorado has a 30 word limit for ballot language. This week City Council unanimously decided to give voters the chance to change this onerous law in April. If passed, voters will be provided more clarity, transparency and a better idea about accountability. They’ll have a better understanding what it is they are voting for! How is that a bad thing? So please spread the word….and take more than 30 words to do it!
 
TOPs Extension – Yes, But Not Now. City Council voted NOT to place the TOPS Extension on the April ballot. Yes, recent polling indicated an extension would pass, and that’s great! But with one of the smallest TOPs programs in Colorado, we first need to expand the program. Trust for Public Land has analyzed our tax base and found that increasing the TOPs Tax from .1 to .25 would cost the average household $36 per year! That’s a little over fifty cents per family per week. To get that passed we need to fix the 30 word limit first and embark on a community outreach program making sure voices in neighborhoods throughout the city are heard. Then we can increase and extend the TOPs program to meet our needs, and the needs of future generations.

PARK AND TRAIL News

Incline Friends
The Incline Friends are a talented community group who are dedicated to maintaining and sustaining the Manitou Springs Incline. TOSC had a question-and-answer session with Incline Friends Board President, Bill Beagle, to learn about what the Incline Friends have been working on.
 
TOSC: What were the Incline Friends biggest accomplishments in 2020?
Incline Friends: Completing the new Northern Connector trail (nearly a mile in length, connecting from tie 1,300 to the Ute Trail and then returning to the bottom of the Incline) without doubt was our proudest achievement. Incline Friends provided 100% of the funding for construction of this trail. The work was done by a private contractor and Parks has done some fencing work of their own. They also cleaned up the remnants of a homeless camp that was off to the side of the new trail. With the assistance of the CS Parks Dept. we also did work to formalize a connector trail from tie 395 to the Ute Trail. These new trails will benefit those who may not feel up to doing the entire Incline and may help reduce calls for assistance from anyone ailing from the exertion.
TOSC: What are the big goals the Incline Friends have for 2021?
Incline Friends: We will continue advocating for a connector trail from the top of the Incline to the northern return trail that was completed in 2020. We are staying in touch with the Parks Department as they work with the USFS to move this project along, since the land at the very top is under USFS control.
We will try to do some outreach days at the base of the Incline, talking with and educating Incline users, with a particular focus on informing people about the principles of Leave No Trace.
TOSC: What help do the Incline Friends need from the public this year?
Incline Friends: We would really love to have more board members. Lest anyone be hesitant about a time commitment, we meet once a month and rarely do our meetings consume more than one hour. Aside from meetings, board member commitments might involve administrative work (we could really use someone interested in being “Secretary” to keep minutes, etc.) and the occasional “work day,” involving minor maintenance and clean-up on and around the Incline.
 
Learn more about the Incline Friends: inclinefriends.org
Management of Target Shooting
 
Limit target shooting in Pike National Forest? Not eliminate, but move it away from neighborhoods, trailheads, campgrounds and congested areas. To improve safety and provide protection for the forest, Pike National Forest Staff proposes setting aside areas for target shooting. TOSC Advocacy Committee supports the idea. The Board will consider the matter at its next meeting. To read more about the proposal and make comments due by February 22, 2021.
The Forest Service has put together a great StoryMap with more information!

TOSC

El Paso County Parks Friends Group Kickoff
Thurs. Feb 4, 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Let’s celebrate our wonderful parks community! Join TOSC and friends for a free virtual event highlighting the wonderful Friends Groups and Park staff that help maintain our parks. Learn about the different groups that operate in El Paso County Parks, what projects they have planned for 2021, and how you can help. Registration is required and is limited to the first 100 people. 
City Center Series
Learn from the best and brightest on topics concerning parks, transit, urbanization, jobs creation and more at four FREE virtual events in 2021. TOSC is delighted to be recognized as the sponsor for the Feb 17th City Center Series, Equity in Transportation with Tamika L. Butler; thanks to a generous donor.
Active multimodal transit is key to economic and public health for growing cities. How do we ensure its benefits are accessible to ALL citizens?
You won’t want to miss any of these great events:
Get Out Spread Out
La Foret Trail starts at Mary Kyler Park and meanders through beautifully landscaped neighborhoods. Neighborhood parks offer fun places to stop and explore, such as sand pits and ponds, making this a great family-friendly walk. 
 
This week’s Get Out Spread Out walk brought to you by Scheels!

 

 

We are thrilled to announce Scheels as our newest Get Out Spread Out Sponsor. Scheels is an outdoor retail store opening in 2021, and while the store is not open yet, their staff has been busy engaging in the community. One of their first community service projects was joining TOSC for a trail clean-up at La Foret Trail. A team of Scheels staff came out in 20 degree weather for several hours, resulting in the clearing of nearly 20 bags filled with trash. 

Community

Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
In honor of Colorado Springs’ upcoming sesquicentennial anniversary, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum will unveil its newest exhibit, COS@150, on Saturday, January 30th. The exhibit explores our community’s history and culture and features 150 objects, illuminating 150 stories, commemorating 150 years. Our TOSC story is included in the 150! The COS@150 gallery will include the people, places and events that helped shape Colorado Springs. Objects on exhibit will range widely in age, size and format in order to engage, surprise and inform both residents and visitors alike. The stories featured will be drawn from our vast archives, collections, and members of our community. (Look for hiking boots provided by one of TOSC’s founders!) The museum is located at 215 S. Tejon St. Hours are Tues – Sat., 10-5pm Admission is free.
Reservations recommended but not required: https://www.cspm.org/visit-the-museum/
 
Pikes Peak Greenway Trail Cleanup!
Sat. Feb 6, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
The Pikes Peak Road Runners have adopted a section of the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. Monthly cleanups are held to pick up trash and other treasures along the trail. The monthly cleanups occur on the first Saturday of each month. Meet near America the Beautiful Park on Cimino Drive just south of Colorado Avenue. On-street parking is available. The cleanups last for about 2 hours. Everybody is welcome to come and help clean the trail. Bring a pair of work gloves. Trash bags will be provided. If it’s a warm day, also bring a bottle of water to refresh yourself. 
More info at www.pprrun.org or visit Facebook Event
Parks Calendar
The 2021 Colorado Springs Parks Calendar is now available free to the public. The calendar celebrates the city’s sesquicentennial highlighting how parks, cultural amenities and recreation opportunities have shaped Colorado Springs. Featuring spectacular photography, (our partner Hiking Bob is featured in the new calendar… twice!) the calendars can be obtained from the following locations:
-Parks Administration Office, 1401 Recreation Way
-Hillside Community Center, 925 S. Institute
-Meadows Park Community Center, 1943 S. El Paso
 
Thanks to Timberline Landscaping for sponsoring the cost of printing.
Kids on Bikes
Kids on Bikes’ summer camp registration is now open, with an early bird discount lasting through the end of January! Bike Camps offer kids the opportunity to develop overall bicycling and mountain bike skills, see a variety of terrain, explore the local trail systems, and cultivate a love for bicycling at a young age. Proceeds from our bike camps help us fulfill our mission and break down barriers to bicycling all year long. Need-based scholarships for summer bike camps are available.
Dates, locations, and registration at kidsonbikes.net.
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