News Wednesday Feb 10, 2021

Draft Santa Fe Open Space Master Plan

El Paso County Parks invites you to download and review the draft Santa Fe Open Space Master Plan. The plan addresses conservation, trails, open space, recreation and cultural services needs, so El Paso County Parks can continue to provide the facilities and services that citizens value. The Master Plan provides guidance for the next seven to ten years for capital improvements, construction of open space amenities, implementation of educational programs, and operations and maintenance.

 Please send your comments to Ross Williams, El Paso County Community Services Park Planner via email at by Wednesday, February 17th


Kane Ranch Open Space
We’re just months away from a new open space to explore! El Paso County is completing construction of a 4-mile loop – “Lariat trail” on Kane Ranch and finishing a parking lot to accommodate hikers, cyclists and horses. The 440 acres is located east of Fountain near Squirrel Creek Road. Pronghorn and Burrowing-owls are common sights on this prairie property plus gorgeous views of the Spanish Peaks and Sangre de Cristo mountains. Look for Kane Ranch to open to the public in late spring-early summer.
Homestead Trail Update
Major work has been completed on the Homestead Trail from Barnes Road to Coneflower Lane, one of the last remaining trail projects to be completed by the 2019 voter approved 2B initiative. This was the $7 million dollars of excess 2018 Tabor revenue that funded the improvement of multiple trail projects, including this stretch of the Homestead Trail. The degraded asphalt surface was removed and replaced with a 900 foot section of 10 foot concrete, updating to the new standard for trails of this type. Additionally, new pedestrian ramps were included in the project, greatly enhancing the safety and improving the trail experience for all users. We are pleased to see the improvements being completed throughout our urban trail network by our parks department and look forward to seeing the East Fork of Sand Creek Trail receive the same upgrade, soon to be completed and closing out the successful 2B project list. 
To find out more about the 2B projects, please visit
Red Rock Canyon Open Space implementing after-hour gate closures
The City Parks department is implementing nightly gate closures in Red Rock Canyon Open Space. The gates, located at the park’s main entrance off Highway 24, will restrict access while the park is closed, 9:00 PM – 5:00 AM (Nov – April) and 10:00 PM – 5:00 AM (May – Oct). The gates will also allow for closures during emergency situations when evacuation would be deemed necessary and for partial closures to facilitate maintenance operations.
The goal of nightly gating is to help prevent illegal activity that regularly occurs when the park is closed, including illegal dumping and fires. This follows the successful overnight gating of other popular City parks over the last few years, including North Cheyenne Cañon Park, Garden of the Gods Park and Palmer Park.
photo credit: City COS.

Panorama Park Art Project
 The City of Colorado Springs has been approved for a $40,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support a future public art project in Panorama Park. This is one of 16 projects in Colorado selected for a grant during the first round of awards given nationwide in 2021.
The goal of the art project is to bring innovative, original artwork that reflects the community’s identity into the park’s new design. Panorama Park, a 13.5-acre neighborhood park located in southeast Colorado Springs, is set to receive the largest neighborhood park renovation in city history. Construction on the park is expected to begin in spring 2021!  
Road Closure in North Cheyenne Canyon
Feb. 8 – March 31, 2021
A section of North Cheyenne Canyon Road, from the main entrance of North Cheyenne Cañon Park to the parking lot at Helen Hunt Falls, will be closed weekdays (Monday-Friday) to facilitate the construction of a temporary bypass road ahead of a larger bridge replacement project in the park. North Cheyenne Cañon Park will remain open (public can access trials) during the road closure, which is expected to last about 6 weeks, weather permitting. The road will be open on Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors can expect to see heavy machinery and should use caution around the construction area. 
The temporary bypass road is being built around a bridge that is slated for reconstruction in fall 2021. It is located near pull-off No. 24. The temporary bypass road is necessary (Due to safety restrictions, heavy vehicles cannot use the existing bridge.) until the bridge is replaced so that vehicles larger than a heavy-duty pickup truck can continue to use North Cheyenne Canyon Road.
More information about this bridge replacement project is available at


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:

Getting to know TOSC Staff

Sharie Dodge, Office Manager
How Long at TOSC: I joined the TOSC team in 2018. 
Interesting Tidbit: I’m an altitude junkie. I have hiked most of the 14ers in Colorado, bagged the highest peak in Costa Rica and got married at 16,843ft while backpacking in Peru.
Why I’m Passionate About Trails and Open Spaces: I have focused my career on nonprofits because I want my work to be an investment in my community. TOSC’s mission to connect trails and preserve open space inspires me.  Because of my background in psychology and the medical field I constantly think about physical and mental health and can’t help but dwell on the correlation between outdoor recreation and wellness.  I believe that access to outdoor spaces is an important part of a happy and healthy community. I’m grateful to live in Colorado where we have so many amazing environmental resources, and I’m proud to work for an organization that promotes outdoor stewardship, sustainable recreation and helps to preserve natural resources. 
Favorite Place to Hike: Blodgett Peak is my favorite hike in COS. It is a challenge for sure; steep, rugged terrain with minimal trail markings, it is easy to get off course once you enter Pike National Forest. I liken it to an undeveloped Manitou Incline, it requires mountaineering skill so it has far less people. Best part is that my dog is allowed to tag along off leash and the views are just incredible. 
El Paso County Friends Group Kickoff
TOSC and El Paso County Parks co-hosted the 2nd annual El Paso County Friends Group Kickoff. This virtual event gave Friends Groups and nonprofit organizations, who do volunteer work in El Paso County, a stage to tell the public about the work they do and how people can get involved with their efforts. The audience heard stories and information from the Bear Creek Community Gardens, Friends of Fox Run, Friend of Bear Creek Dog Park, Friends of the EPC Nature Centers, Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, Fountain Creek Watershed and Greenway District, Black Forest Trails Association and the Friends of the Palmer Divide Regional Trail. A major goal of TOSC is to promote Friends Groups and provide technical assistance to them whenever possible. This event gave some of the groups their first major public exposure while giving other organizations a brand-new audience to reach. To watch the event, go to:
Looking for an easy way to support parks and trails? If you get a state income tax refund in 2020, you can donate some or all of it to support TOSC and our ongoing work in the community. ReFUND CO puts you in charge of where your donation goes. It’s as simple as:
1.    Decide how much of your refund to donate.
2.    Enter TRAILS AND OPEN SPACE COALITION and our registration number [20023002987] in the Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund line on your state income tax return or tax software – or just give this info to your tax preparer when you share your tax documents.
Learn more at As always, we’re grateful for your past support and hope you’ll consider donating again through this new program to continue our mission.


Bighorn Sheep Day
Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021
This year Garden of the Gods’ Annual Bighorn Sheep Day event is Virtual. Please enjoy the downloadable content/activities, video links, and check back on “Bighorn Sheep Day” for a live presentation, where we will live-stream actual bighorn sheep.
Thursday, Feb. 18, 5:30 -7:00 PM
ConnectCOS is a visionary transportation study that will result in 20-year plan for safe, efficient, accessible and well-connected travel options in and around Colorado Springs. As we move forward with developing a long term transportation plan for our community the city looks to residents to provide insight to help create a transportation roadmap that reflects the evolving needs of our community. ConnectCOS seeks to address the tremendous growth that has recently taken place and will build on years of study and analysis to identify transportation improvements and the strategic steps necessary to ensure an efficient, accessible, safe, and well-connected network. Be a part of the conversation!
Pre-register for Virtual Public Meeting.
Virtual Wine Tasting
Saturday, February 20, 7:00 PM
Stay safe at home and enjoy this special Virtual Wine Tasting Event. Enjoy:
  • Sauvage Spectrum Sparklet Rose
  • Whitewater Hill No Oak Chardonnay
  • Whitewater Hill Chambourcin
  • Wine Tasting Sheets
  • Handouts and Color Guide
This is a great opportunity to try some excellent Colorado wines and to develop your tasting palate by participating in the special Zoom event. The cost of the wine package is $65. All proceeds from this event will go to the Friends of El Paso County Nature Centers, a 501(c)3 organization, and will support environmental education programs in El Paso County. The wine package can be picked up from The Wine Seller or if you live in El Paso County, they will be hand-delivered on Friday, February 19. After the Virtual Tasting, join us for the 2021 Hobby Wine Competition Awards at 8 p.m. This competition was open to all non-professional hobby winemakers throughout the state.
Bike COS Volunteers!
Bike Colorado Springs is looking for volunteers to step up and get involved with making our city a safer, easier place to ride a bike. BCS has openings for two specific roles, Membership Coordinator and Outreach Committee Chair. If you are interested in becoming involved send an email to
Learn more about volunteering.
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