News Wednesday May 12, 2021

Trail Projects for 2022
We’re guessing you have a list of Capital Improvement Projects (CIP’s) floating around your brain waiting for time and dollars to free up: re-doing a kitchen or bathroom, staining your deck or adding bike hooks to your garage.
COS Parks has a CIP list that goes before the TOPS Working Committee and Parks Advisory Board each spring for consideration. For advocates it’s both exciting and gut-wrenching. Nothing beats seeing a project you care about “make the cut.” And yet so many critical projects don’t make the list because there aren’t enough dollars.
The preliminary list for 2022 includes using TOPS Trails dollars to improve and add segments to the Chamberlain, Rock Island, Cottonwood Creek, Sand Creek, Sinton and La Foret Trails. With only 1.8 million dollars available in the trails category, only so much will be accomplished. Nevertheless, Cottonwood Trail will be extended east of Powers and connect new neighborhoods to an important trail corridor. One day the Chamberlain Trail will stretch from Blodgett OS to Cheyenne Mtn State Park. In 2022 staff will acquire more trail easements and build a little more trail. Same goes for the La Foret Trail – acquisition and a little construction. We won’t actually see improvements to the Rock Island and Sand Creek Trails. 2022 dollars will be spent on acquisition and design.
Why do projects seem to take such a long time? It’s pretty simple: we have only so much staff time and so many dollars to complete these projects. The Parks Advisory Board has a slightly longer CIP list because it can tap into additional dollars. We’ll bring those projects to you next week.

PARK AND TRAIL News

 
Camp in Chaffee County? The Bureau of Land Management Wants To Hear From You!
If you camped in Chaffee County last summer, you know how crowded it was in many wilderness areas. The BLM has concerns about the human impact on some of its wild areas and is asking campers to share their observations as they create a Camping and Travel Management Plan. Deadline to comment is May 20th.
Rattlesnakes
Prairie rattlesnake season has begun in the Pikes Peak region! When temperatures get between 60-80F,
the region’s only venomous snake becomes more active. Over the past few weeks, sightings of
rattlesnakes have increased in spots like Pulpit Rock, Ute Valley Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park,
Bluestem Prairie Open Space and other warm rocky locations. Here are a few tips to stay safe during
snake season:
1) In areas where snakes are a concern, hike on wide, well populated trails.
2) Stay on official trails, avoid rogue social trails.
3) Keep 6 feet of distance from snakes and do not approach.
4) Keep kids and pets nearby in areas known for snake encounters.
5) If you are worried about snakes, consider hiking at elevations higher than 8,500 feet (rattlesnakes stay in lower elevations in the foothills and plains) like Mueller State Park, Pikes Peak North and South Slopes and Ute Pass/Woodland Park trails.
Learn more about snake safety, Click here.
Tips for hiking with children in rattler territory? Click here.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for Panorama Park
This effort is the largest neighborhood park renovation in the history of Colorado Springs and will transform this older park facility into something unique and quite special for this region of the city, becoming a destination unto itself and sure to be visited by residents from all over,
 
It was a truly inspiring audience in attendance with representatives from all of the project partners, funding organizations and foundations, community leaders, and a brilliant group of young ambassadors from the Youth Advisory Council leading tours of the project site after the dirt had been thrown. This project has been enabled by a high level of public-private partnerships and would not have be possible without these relationships, as stated by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. The invited speakers spoke of the incredible investment that so many have made to get the project to this point, not just in monetary value, but in the passion, dedication, and commitment to this park transformation and the catalytic impact that it will be for Southeast Colorado Springs. 
 
Along with our Parks Department, we would like to say thank you to the leadership of the RISE (Resilient, Inspired, Strong, and Engaged) Coalition and their steadfast partner, the Trust for Public Land. They have all worked collaboratively since 2019 to guide the master planning process to this point and we look forward to gathering with them again in the Summer of 2022 as they dedicate this newly renovated park. 
 
 
 
TOPS Increase/Extension Update
Additional polling using better ballot language was just completed. Results are still being analyzed. Colorado Springs should soon have an answer to the question: if voters are given more information about what a TOPS (Trails Open Space and Parks) tax increase could accomplish – would they support it? Last fall, cities and counties across the country were asked to increase support for parks and trails and the majority said yes.
 

TOSC

Open Space Trail Ambassadors
TOSC is creating an Trail Ambassador program to support open spaces managed by the City of Colorado Springs: Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Blodgett Open Space, Ute Valley Park, Stratton Open Space, Palmer Park, Austin Bluffs Open Space. If you have a passion for volunteering and want to assist visitors with having a positive experience by sharing your knowledge of trails, information about the natural environment and answering questions; then you should be a TOSC Trail Ambassador! Trail Ambassadors will also report on trail conditions, participate in community science initiatives and share Leave No Trace principles. We are looking for 30 volunteers to participate in this stewardship program.
 
To learn more, join us on Thursday, May 27th at 5:30pm via Zoom, Link to Register.
Questions? Email Aaron Rogers, aaron@trailsandopenspaces.org.
Meet Patty and Bruce Cameron – long-time TOSC Members – and hear why they think YOU should also join the coalition and become a member.
 
Fun Facts About Us:  
   Patty: I married my third grade boyfriend. I worked at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo as the Development Director.
   Bruce: Our first date was to the Kiddie Matinee at the Chief Theater in the 4th grade. I worked at NAPA Auto Parts delivering parts during college and ended up purchasing the business in 1992.
 
What our local parks and trails mean to us: Our parks and trails mean that people now and people who came before us had the vision and commitment to protect outdoor spaces that encourage us to stay active and our community to be vibrant. 
   
Why is it important to support TOSC? Our TOSC membership pays for the staff required to provide leadership for a coalition of organizations and entities working together to keep an eye on what land might be swept away by development, what existing trails and open space need special care and what newly identified lands could become new or expanded trails or parks. Feel the pride and become a TOSC member. 
 
What is your favorite trail/park? The Pikes Peak Greenway and its expanded Legacy Loop keep us active cycling and walking. We both grew up blocks away from what is now Boddington Field. Memories abound of sledding, dizzying rides on the park’s merry-go-round, and catching snakes in the rock walls.   
   
How long have you lived in the Pikes Peak Region?  
   Patty: 74 years 
   Bruce: 66 years
 
Scoop the Poop Challenge
The TOSC/Heuberger Scoop the Poop Challenge was a huge success! The event challenged trail users at six parks to help clean the trails of harmful dog waste. We exceeded our goal of clearing the trails of 50lbs and ultimately removed an estimated 135 lbs! Over 130 trail users took part in the challenge. Thanks to the entire TOSC Staff, Heuberger’s staff volunteers, TOSC board volunteers and Alli Schuch with the Watershed District for staffing the event. A HUGE thank you to all of you that participated! Thank you for being an active part of our trail community.

Community

Bicycle-Friendly Drivers
Wed. May 12, 6:00 PM via Zoom
FREE Bicycle-Friendly Drivers online training, hosted by Bicycle Colorado! Learn about laws and safe practices for both road users, how to navigate on-street bicycle infrastructure and how to avoid common crashes between drivers and bicyclists. After the webinar, participants will complete an exam and those who pass will be emailed a certificate to demonstrate their new knowledge. Through evaluations, all ages and levels of drivers (and bicyclists!) have shared that they benefited from the course and that content should be mandatory for everyone on our roads.
Dig2Ride Day
Sat. May 15, 8:00 – 12:00 pm
This Goose Gossage Bike Park workday will be primarily focused on revising and performing maintenance on the pump track, which over the past few years has eroded significantly. After our work is done, we’ll be running timed laps on the course to see who reigns supreme on the rollers and corners!
Note: Crew desperately needs able-bodied volunteers who are able to bring the following tools: wheelbarrows, mattock/pickaxe, tamper and flathead shovel.
Outdoor Safety Virtual Talk
Tue. May 18, 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Learn how to keep your kids safe on outdoor adventures summer! Presented by Aaron Provance, Director of Pediatric Sports Medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado, seasoned mountaineer, mountain biker, skier, outdoor advocate, and father of triplets. Get expert tips for planning fun summer excursions that are safe and realistic for the whole family. Zoom link will be sent out to registered attendees one day prior to the event.
 
Wellness Walks
Wednesday mornings in May, 9:15 – 10:45 AM
Join the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center for Wellness Wednesdays. Meet in the Red Rocks Room for light movement & stretches, followed by a Hike in the Park! For those looking for some solitude, pick up a map for 1-3 mile Self-Guided hike in the Garden.
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For as little as $30 Join the Coalition and advocate for the preservation, improvement and maintenance of our TRAILS, OPEN SPACES and PARKS.