News Wednesday March 3, 2021

Panorama Park

We are very excited to report that major renovation project in Panorama Park in the Southeast community of Colorado Springs is about to get underway. The Youth Advisory Council has been hard at work with the Pikes Peak Library District on the creation of a beautiful community-inspired and built mosaic art project. The City of Colorado Springs was recently awarded a $40,000 Grant for Arts Project from the National Endowment for the Arts and this is just one element that will bring color, beauty and a wonderful sense of place that highlights the community, culture and vibrance of this area in the city.
 
We look forward to celebrating with the City, the RISE Coalition, Trust for Public Land, and the many other community partners and organizations that have contributed to the largest neighborhood park renovation in the history of Colorado Springs! The contractor selection process is ongoing and anticipated groundbreaking for this project in mid to late April. We will be sure to share updates and exciting news relating to this park renovation.
 
 

PARK AND TRAIL News

Jones Park Update
New to the area? Chances are you haven’t been to Jones Park. The word “park” is a misnomer. You won’t find ballfields or playgrounds. You will find 1,191 acres of lovely aspen and conifer forests, meadows and trails. Just 6 miles west of downtown Colorado Springs. Jones Park was owned by the city of Colorado Springs and managed by Colorado Springs Utilities. Surrounded on 4 sides by Pike National Forest, it’s been a favorite remote place for recreation. El Paso County Parks took over Jones Park in 2015 and just completed a master planning process with trail recommendations. The plan will go before the EPC Parks Advisory Board and EPC BoCC for final approval. The plan balances recreational opportunities with environmental sustainability. Jones Park is part of the Bear Creek Watershed where the only known population of genetically pure, Greenback Cutthroat Trout are struggling for survival. A threatened species, recent fish counts indicate a decrease in the number of reproducing fish – as much as 80%. Fish experts aren’t sure why, sedimentation and water temperature are being monitored. The Jones Park plan is committed to taking no action that will adversely impact the trout. Once passed, trail construction will occur as funding becomes available.
Central Friends Groups
The regional parks and open spaces in the center crosscut of Colorado Springs are some of the most spectacular and the most visited sites. These Friends Groups work hard to assist the City of Colorado Springs park staff with keeping them in the best possible shape. The Guardians of Palmer Park have monthly volunteer workdays and cleanups. The Friends of Garden of the Gods provide care for their park through education, advocacy and financial support. The Rock Ledge Ranch Living History Association is a volunteer group that cares for the ranch property and the livestock that call it home. Providing interpretive opportunities, education materials and advocacy are what the volunteers of the Friends of Red Rock Canyon Open Space do best. No matter what your interest is, from trail maintenance to advocacy, there is a Friends Group in the heart of Colorado Springs for you.
Protecting America’s Wilderness and
Public Lands Act
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a massive new public lands bill that aims to permanently protect nearly three million acres across Colorado, California, Washington and Arizona. Legislation to preserve wilderness across these 4 states now heads to Senate.
More information on Colorado Wilderness Act, and the 36 areas it would protect is available here.

TOSC

Getting to know TOSC Staff

Mike Rigney, Ring the Peak Project Manager & Map God
How Long at TOSC: I have been a volunteer staff person for six years. When I retired and moved to Colorado Springs I was looking for an organization I could volunteer for that could benefit from my background in GIS. I walked into the office of TOSC with my resume in hand and was accepted with open arms by Susan and the rest of the TOSC staff. I have been there ever since. 
 
Interesting Tidbit: I began my career in the outdoors as a wildlife biologist and was the Executive Director of an avian research organization in San Jose, CA. Our team of biologists captured and banded thousands of birds to study their migration patterns and habitat needs. I personally have banded over 20,000 birds of nearly 100 species. 
 
Why I’m Passionate About Trails and Open Spaces: I grew up in the wilds of Sonoran Desert in Arizona where there were few trails but that early life adventure instilled in me a love of nature and the outdoors. Later in life I realized how important trails were in facilitating that same love of nature and the outdoors in other people. I began designing and building trails in Arizona as the Trail Coordinator for a small town. I founded a bicycle festival in that town that raised money to acquire and protect areas of pristine Sonoran Desert. 
 
Favorite Place to Hike: My wife and I are fortunate to live very close to Garden of the Gods so we and our dog Woodstock hike the Niobrara and the Buckskin Charley Trails almost every day. 
Thank you Lauren Collier, Live Dream Colorado
For the 7th year, Lauren’s real estate company donated a portion of sales to TOSC. Lauren explains why:
“Because we believe in their mission to protect trails, parks, and open spaces, for today and for future generations. One of the most wonderful aspects of Colorado Springs is our unique abundance of natural parks, trails, and open spaces. I personally love the quick access to a variety of natural places throughout town and nearby, and I know that’s a big reason many people settle here and love living here. With that, I’m so happy to report that for the seventh year, I was again able to represent my real estate brokerage Live Dream Colorado in fulfilling our annual 1% for the Planet pledge to donate a portion of revenue to support the environment!”
Learn more about Live Dream Colorado www.livedreamcolorado.com
Vote Yes for Issue 1!
Here’s the irony, you can’t easily explain why Issue 1 matters.
Certainly NOT in 30 words.
That’s what issue 1 on the April ballot changes: it removes the 30 word limit on city initiatives involving a tax increase.
Bottom line: Voting “YES” on Issue 1 will give Colorado Springs voters the same level of transparency and accountability every other voter in Colorado has on the ballot.
Who Supports Issue 1? Trails and Open Space Coalition / Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance / Friends of Garden of the Gods / Mayor John Suthers / City Council President Richard Skorman / City Councilor At Large Wayne Williams / Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC / Colorado Springs Home Builders Association / Pikes Peak Association of Realtors
For more information visit Yeson1CoS.com.

Community

City Council Candidates
Learn about who is running to represent your district. Hear City Council Candidates discuss issues that impact you and your community. Listen in live by visiting FOX21news.com or check out the recordings afterwards. There is still time to submit questions for consideration- email info@citizensproject.org.
Wednesday, March 3: 1pm-2pm – District 3
Friday, March 5: 12pm-1pm – District 2, 1pm-2pm – District 5
Tuesday, March 9: 1pm-2pm: District 6
Wednesday, March 10: 12pm-1pm: District 4
Thursday, March 11: 12pm-1pm: District 1
 
Not sure which district you live in? Find your City Council district!
 
 
Palmer Park Work Day
Sat. March 6, 9:00 -12:00 pm
Join the heroes at Guardians of Palmer Park this Saturday! Show your love for this park by helping clean up the Yucca/Mesa trails (the dog off-leash areas). Please wear a face mask. Volunteers are encouraged to provide their own work gloves and drinking water. Please check in at the Yucca Area parking lot.
 
Please preregister, numbers will be limited! 5 Volunteers needed
 
 
 
Bicycle Friendly Community
The League of American Bicyclists is reviewing the City of Colorado Springs 2021 Bicycle Friendly Community application. To gain a better understanding of local bicyclists’ experiences in our community we are asking residents to complete a survey. This survey is meant to provide context for the decision-making process, as well as valuable feedback for you directly from bicyclists in our community. Award results for the Spring round will be announced in May.
Please take the survey before March 31.
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