Barr Trail Celebrates 100 Years!
By Eric Swab
Well – at least some of the trail does. Some is older, some a lot older, and some newer. If you have hiked to the summit on Barr Trail you have seen the granite plaque that dates the trail’s construction from 1914 to 1918. Fred Barr probably started the project in 1914, but 1918 is the year he finished surveying the route. Construction was not completed until 1921.
The trail that reached the summit in 1921 started at No Name Creek, not in Manitou Springs. Beginning in 1908, Fred Barr owned the Burro Livery concession at the top of the Manitou Incline. After building trails on “Rocky Mountain” to Lookout Rock, Eagle Cliff and Mount Crest Crags, he decided to provide a way for his customers to reach the summit.
Fred’s was not the first trail up the east face of Pikes Peak. That may be claimed by the engineers of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. General William Jackson Palmer, wishing to provide an attraction for his Colorado Springs passengers, built the “Fremont Trail” in 1871. Some believe this trail only went as far as timber line, leaving the hiker or equestrians to find his own way from there.
PARK AND TRAIL News
Rule Change for Rock Climbers at GoG
Effective March 15, 2021 climbing chalk or a chalk substitute of any kind or color cannot be used when climbing in Garden of the Gods Park. Climbing chalk was previously banned, however, this rule change now includes the restriction of all chalk substitutes in order to help preserve the natural beauty of the rock formations. The change has become necessary due to an increase in climbing activity and chalk use in the park.
More information at coloradosprings.gov.
E-Bikes Pilot Project begins Memorial Day
COS Parks Staff announced a pilot project involving electric bikes. Class 1 e-bikes are currently allowed on all urban trails. The pilot project will allow Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on urban trails (similar to EPC) and Class 1 e-bikes on soft surface trails in our parks and open spaces. Signage will be added along trails specifying a 15mph speed limit for all cyclists. Parks Staff provided highlights of a recent e-bikes surveys taken by 1662 participants and providing 2400 comments. Respondents were evenly split on the issue. TOSC has consistently advocated for improved signage and education as criteria for expanding e-bikes on our trails to protect all trail users. Many of you have expressed concerns about trail safety and enforcement. We will continue to share those concerns with Parks Staff.
EPC Parks Director Tim Wolken Retires
Tim Wolken, Executive Director EPC Community Services will retire at the end of this month. Tim spent 17 years leading the county’s park department through some very challenging years. Speaking last week to the Parks Advisory Board, Tim described his time as Director as “an incredible journey. Look at what we accomplished!” And added that he took great pride in what had been achieved during his tenure. During his time with EPC parks, the Pineries, Santa Fe Open Space, Kane Ranch Open Space, Jones Park and Ute Pass Regional Trail were all purchased, added, master planned or opened. The director thanked members of the Advisory Board and his passionate staff for their support. Tim Wolken has been a great partner to TOSC over the years and he will be missed!
A single snowflake weighs one millionth of a gram. This means to make the 6 inches of snow possible to snowshoe, it takes billions of snowflakes just to make enough snowpack for just a few feet of trail. Luckily, the last snowstorm brought an unimaginable number of snowflakes to the region and shady conditions amongst mighty ponderosa trees will help them stick around for a while. In northern El Paso County, you can easily go snowshoeing in Fox Run Regional Park. Your best luck will be using the parking lot off Roller Coaster Road and entering the park through those shady trails. The Pineries Open Space is a new snowshoeing hot spot. A little further north in southern Douglas County, Spruce Mountain Open Space is another excellent spot to snowshoe due to the north facing slope that has great forest cover in the southern end of the open space. In Teller County, there are great trails to snowshoe in Mueller State Park and in the Florissant Fossil Beds.
Are you new to snowshoeing? Read Hiking Bob’s Snowshoeing 101
Pikes Peak Regional Crew Leader Training
May 1 & 2 @ North Cheyenne Canon Park
Crew Leader Training is an intensive weekend-long training for experienced volunteers who are interested in becoming certified Volunteer Crew Leaders. The training is hosted in partnership by Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Trails and Open Space Coalition, Friends of the Peak, and the City of Colorado Springs, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department. For this year’s training, there will be a hybrid format to the training with zoom learning sessions followed by practicum in the field. This training is perfect for experienced trail and restoration volunteers who are looking to advance into more of a leadership role.
Congratulations to one of TOSC’s newest business partners on their Grand Opening. Kinship Landing is a new kind of hospitality, a friendly boutique hotel that brings together locals and travelers around outdoor adventure and city exploration. It was inspired by two locals’ trip around the world and a decade of friendship and adventure among founding partners. Kinship offers a down to earth culture that expresses the local scene and multiplies the values of courage, trust, generosity, community, and adventure.
Link to Kinship Landing Website.
How do City Council Candidates Feel about Parks?
TOSC asked all City Council Candidates the following question:
General fund support for city parks, trails and open space remains less than it was 15 years ago. (2006 – $19,144,000; 2021 -$14,898,000)
Do you consider parks a critical city service? Why or why not.
Here are the response TOSC received. Some candidates chose not to respond.
· Jim Mason: Yes. I consider Parks and Open Spaces to be essential and a quality of Life imperative. Likewise, I think maintenance and upgrade of them should be a budgeted priority line item. Once and for all, we must ask for and receive Public commitment stating such.
· David Donelson: Yes. As a former Trail Crew Member and Wilderness Guard in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, and current trail runner who has run the Pikes Peak Ascent, runs trails in Palmer Park and can often be found on the Santa Fe Trail I know the value of our parks.
· Glenn Carlson: 100%, without a doubt. As an outdoor recreation mecca; our parks, trails, and open spaces are quite possibly the most important attraction to COS. Our outdoor spaces are important for our physical and mental well-being and our quality of life.
· Dave Noblett: I am sad for the decision to reduce what has been a recognized as one of the greatest reasons to come to C/S, our parks/trails. Our founders envisioned our city full of parks. Plan COS is supposed to create that multi-model transport capability. Within my district I see sprawl, very little if any connectivity built in; and a park reduction.
· Dave Geislinger: Without parks, trails and open space we would not be Colorado Springs. Short-sightedness during 2007-2014 led us to ignore who we are for short-term instant economic gratification. It’s parks’ turn to return to pre-downturn levels of support. I am committed to establishing a long-term, sustainable, parks funding plan.
· Randy Helms: Yes, TOPS creates an attractive and livable city. This past COVID year our parks were critical to the health of our citizens. When our founder, General Palmer laid out his vision for this beautiful city he included parks and open spaces.
· Richard Skorman: There is nothing more important to provide for our “superuser” population, particularly if we want to attract and retain good jobs. It’s also never mentioned that we share our mountain backdrop Parks and Open Spaces, with 20 million tourists, in a non-COVID year and County residents (there Park department is woefully underfunded as well). Finally, we have not only had a huge funding deficit for well over a decade, but we are also now placing on our Parks department our critical urban forest deficit, as well as vitally important wildfire mitigation.
· Arthur Glynn: Part of the draw and magic of Colorado Springs are the parks and open spaces. They marry well with the healthy and outdoor lifestyle we profess and are therefore a critical element of our city.
· Olivia Lupia: Yes, I do consider parks to be an important service. Our parks and open spaces are one of the many unique features that make our city such a wonderful place to live and visit, and it is our responsibility to be good stewards of these resources.
· Yolanda Avila: Yes, I consider parks a critical city service. They contribute to our quality of life, our health, and our environmental well-being. This is especially in District 4 where our life spans are less and there are few green spaces to be physically active. We need spaces that everyone can enjoy without digging into their wallet.
· Nancy Henjum: I do consider parks critical to our community. Being in Colorado one of the largest priorities for residents is enjoying the outdoor space we have. We must keep up with the maintenance of current parks and trails and make sure we are holding developers and builders accountable when new developments are put in place.
· Matt Zelenok: Yes. Parks and open space are part of the Colorado Springs lifestyle and what makes Colorado Springs a great place to live and visit. People travel and move here because of all of the wonderful areas that exist in Colorado Springs, and we must continue the efforts made to expand and improve our parks.
· Karlie Van Arnam: Yes. Colorado Springs is a beautiful place to live and our citizens, myself included, value our trails and open spaces. believe our park and trail systems are vital to a healthy community and lifestyle. I believe in maintaining free, clean and accessible open space for generations to come.
· Justin James-Fletcher: Yes, parks are a critical city service. Many people come to Colorado Springs because of our wonderful trails and open spaces! Being a native to COS I can tell you first-hand how important it is to protect these areas and expand on the success we have had creating new spaces and trails.
· Mike O’Malley: Yes – it’s a national treasure.
Visit coloradosprings.gov/city-elections for more Candidate and Campaign information.