Get Out and Get Healthy
– Dr. Autumn Orser, MD. (Pediatrics Specialist with Peak Vista Community Health Centers and a member of the TOSC Board of Directors)
We are now a year into the global pandemic, which has affected our lives in unimaginable ways. In Colorado, we’ve seen nearly half a million cases and said goodbye to over 6,000 people who have died due to COVID-19. Concerns about the economy, personal finances, quality of online vs in-person education, and physical health and emotional distress continue to skyrocket.
The uncertainty of school being in-person or on-line one week to the next, childcare challenges, and the balance of multiple people working or learning from home are exhausting our depleted reserves. These demands are compounded by the loss of social connections, interactions, and celebratory milestones. Over the past year, clinical diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse have nearly doubled. Over 85% of parents surveyed report changes to their children’s emotions and behaviors during the quarantine. Child physical activity has decreased from 63% to 30% and time outside has decreased from 58% to 27%. The pandemic is certainly taking a toll.
But all is not grim! We can continue to combat the secondary effects of COVID-19 by spending time on our trails and in our open spaces. Now, more than ever, we need fresh air, sunlight, and cool mountain breezes. The benefits of spending time outside include a more diverse work out—being able to go up and down hill, natural resistance due to Spring winds, and the mental reward of the vista.
Spending time outside also lowers our cortisol levels, which boosts immunity and improves mood. The Vitamin D from protected sun-exposure could fight against bone disease, cancer, depression, stroke, and heart attacks. And importantly, spending time in the grandeur of the Colorado Rockies helps gives us perspective, relief from the concerns of our day, and connects us to healing hope and optimism.
In Colorado Springs, we have remarkably easy access to trails and open spaces. Make it a priority to get outside for 15-20 minutes every day. When you get out and are strolling in the park, hiking in the mountains, running on the trail, or biking down the path, take time to notice the sights, sounds and smells around you—the trees, flowers, snow, birds, insects, grass, and sunlight. Be sure to carry a mask with you in case you encounter others in an area where maintaining 6 feet of distancing isn’t possible.
With so many trails and parks within an easy walk, bike or drive, let’s get out and get healthy! #GetOutGetHealthy
PARK AND TRAIL News
Sand Creek Trail Update
We are excited to report that work has been completed on repaving the East Fork of Sand Creek Trail. This .9 mile segment of trail connects to the northwest side of Wildflower Park and provides safe and convenient neighborhood access to the park and Sand Creek Trail. This was the final trail project for 2B, $1 million dollars allocated for the improvements planned for the Homestead, Mesa, Legacy Loop, and Sand Creek Trails and is a much-needed renovation for Southeast Colorado Springs. Work involved removing the deteriorated asphalt surface and replacing it with concrete, matching the design of the main trail route. We thank the voters of Colorado Springs for approving the 2B ballot initiative in the November 2019 election, and our Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department for their dedication to seeing this work move forward during challenging times. It is encouraging to see the improvements that have been made all throughout Colorado Springs with the $7 million in excess TABOR revenue, enhancements to our valuable parks, trails, and sports complexes that have been such an important part of our residents’ access to high quality outdoor facilities during the challenges of Covid-19.
We look forward to celebrating this new portion of trail later in Spring and will share information about the festivities! To find out additional details about the 2B projects and any updates from the City, you can visit the 2B webpage here: coloradosprings.gov/2b
Stroller Friendly Trails
Looking for stroller friendly trails? TOSC and Hike it Baby have you covered! Find info about paved paths and wide dirt/gravel trails in El Paso County. Check out our interactive map highlighting regional trails and some great loops in parks.
As our weather heats up, we start to see more people out enjoying the trails. We encourage everyone to be a part of our kind and courteous trail community! Rarely will you have the trail all to yourself, so please consider the following:
– Use headphones to listen to music, but make sure you are still able to hear and communicate with others.
– Limit group size to reduce noise and trail congestion.
– Keep pets on a leash.
– Be prepared to pack out your trash. Extra credit if you pack out more.
– Stay to the right, pass on the left.
– Say hello and communicate with other trail users. Remember the yield triangle, hikers and bikers yield to horse, and bikers yield to hikers/runners/walkers.
– Enjoy sharing our beautiful trails!
SCOOP THE POOP CHALLENGE
Sat. April 17, 9:00 – 12:00 PM
TOSC and Subaru give a poo! Do you? On Saturday, April 17, TOSC will be challenging trail users to scoop the poop. Come out to one of the following locations to be a part of our dog poo clean-up. We’ll provide a poop bag for each trail user to take out on their hike. Each full bag returned can be redeemed for an entry into a giveaway for 1 of 40 $50 gift cards to a local business! Help us meet our goal of clearing the trails of 50 pounds of dog poo. Join us at any of the following locations:
Bear Creek – East
Blodgett Open Space
Red Rock Open Space
Stratton Open Space
Palmer Park – Yucca Flats
We would love to thank Leadership Pikes Peak for the impact they make in our community. We are thankful for the different community leadership programs LPP offers to emerging leaders that benefit organizations and nonprofits like TOSC. This past winter, TOSC worked with a group from the Leadership Now! program that helped us with information gathering for our “Get Out Get Healthy” program. The group learned about the impact parks and trails have on the health and well-being of the people in our city while creating a spreadsheet that listed specific details from 130+ parks and trails from around this region. This information will be used by TOSC, local doctors and other community partners to help people find outdoor spaces that best fit their exercise needs. Year after year, Leadership Pikes Peak and the emerging leaders that complete their programs leave an impact on our community and we are thankful for their passion, spirit and hard work.
Become a Member of TOCS!
We know you are passionate about our trails, parks and open spaces. Do you want to see more trail connections, open space preservation and stewardship programs? It can be hard to raise your voice alone to advocate for these things, but when you join a coalition, your voice joins hundreds of others and things happen!
Become a member today for less than $1/week and support TOSC’s efforts to grow and improve our network of outdoor spaces.
Some Benefits of Membership:
- Amplify Your Voice – There is power in numbers
- Join us on one of our Member Only hikes or bike rides
- Meet other fellow trail advocates at our Member Trail Mixers and our Annual Member Celebration
- Get a Member Sticker to show your support
- Learn about stewardship opportunities
Member Spotlight: John Maynard
My name is John Maynard. I am one of the founders of the predecessor to TOSC, The Trails Coalition. When we started the Trails Coalition in 1987 there was no organized advocate for trails in the Pikes Peak Region. In order to be able to make an immediate impact, we decided that we would engage existing organizations as members so that when we spoke at public meetings we could say that we represented a significant number of citizens. Original Trails Coalition member organizations included The Pikes Peak Roadrunners, The League of Women Voters, Falcon Wanders (a hiking club), Aiken Audubon Society, several bike clubs and others. Having a strong membership base was key to advocacy and to fund raising. Imagine the surprise of City Council when we spoke in favor of trails funding at the budget hearing and represented that our organization, although new, was over 900 strong!
My favorite park is Red Rocks Open Space. It is the single most important TOPS acquisition made by the City of Colorado Springs. Challenges ahead include providing open space and trails in the northeast and eastern portions of the community where future population growth is occurring, and finding a sustainable way to fund park infrastructure.
Exploring Our Urban Forest
April 10, 2:00-3:00 PM
Virtual lecture presented via Zoom
When General William Jackson Palmer founded our city in 1871, it was situated on a nearly treeless, shortgrass prairie. Under Palmer’s supervision, the Colorado Springs Company planted thousands of trees to make the city green and inviting. Today, the city has been recognized as a “Tree City, USA” for 44 straight years by the Arbor Day Foundation. Join us as we examine this fascinating history, discuss new forestry initiatives, and examine the future of our urban forest. We will also explore the science of “Tree Ring Research” being conducted at UCCS that focuses on human-environment interactions and the stories trees can tell.
Public Space Design for Public Health Equity
Wed. April 14, 4:00 – 5:15 pm
The upheavals of 2020 highlighted long-standing inequities in how public space serves public health. What needs to change to make our city center safe and healthy for all?
Dr. Keshia Pollack Porter is an epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on tactics to center equity and public health in how we address public spaces, promoting safe and healthy environments where people live, work, play and travel. The 2021 City Center Speaker Series is FREE for all attendees, but pre-registration required.
Virtual Liquid Lecture: Plastic Pollution, Colorado and the Ocean
Thurs. April 15, 6:00 – 7:00 PM on Zoom
Learn about the history and issues of plastic pollution, current efforts to combat it, and ways you can make a difference even if you don’t see the ocean every day. Presentation by guest speaker Melissa Jung, Inland Ocean Coalition.
Email email@example.com to register, get Zoom link, and beer coupon from Atrevida Beer Co!
Spring Fling Poker 5K Ride and Run
Sat, April 24, 2021 8:30 – 12:00 PM
It’s time for the annual Spring Fling Poker 5K Ride and Run at Bear Creek! All proceeds directly benefit the building and maintenance of YOUR Equestrian Skills Course. High- and low-hand prizes for each trail user group – horses, pack burros, bicycles, hikers/walkers and runners. All ages welcome. New special game for kids. Tickets are only $20 in advance or $30 day of event.
You said Yes on Issue 1
The votes are in and Issue 1 passed. That means future ballot initiatives involving tax increases will give voters more than 30 words to explain what they’re voting for. It means Colorado Springs will be like all other cities in Colorado and provide voters transparency and accountability on issues that matter. And it means TOSC can now advocate for putting TOPS (Trails, Parks and Open Space) on the ballot next November. You deserve to know how tax money will be spent. With the passage of Issue 1 – we can tell you. Thank You!