Why TOSC does not Support the Incline Reservation System
When Manitou Springs declared a state of emergency during the pandemic and closed the Incline, we were alarmed and worried other land managers might close trails. They did not. The Incline was the only local trail closed. Covid was used as the excuse although it became clear the real problem was traffic created by trail users accessing the Incline, Barr and Ute Regional Trail from
The free reservation system appeared to be a good compromise at the time. Access was restored although limited. The city received federal pandemic
support that paid for the staff operating the reservation system. The state of emergency has ended. Colorado Springs will pay $140,000 to operate the reservation system next year.
TOSC is championing an extension and increase to the TOPS tax because our parks, trails and open space need the support. We think that $140,000 could be better used improving a playground, replacing Kentucky Blue Grass with natural turf to save dollars on water or any of 10 other projects that would improve our parks.
We know Manitou Springs likes the reservation system because it cuts down on traffic on Ruxton. We also know with the return of the COG railroad, Incline traffic is no longer the issue. Why are Incline users being singled out? TOSC fought hard to get the Incline legalized and helped form Incline Friends who have led clean-ups, closed social trails and built the northern return trail making the Incline safer for all users. They too oppose the reservation system. It’s time for it to end.
PARK AND TRAIL News
Youth Advisory Council Park and Trail Evaluation Project
On Saturday, July 24 TOSC staff joined with project partners from the RISE (Resilient, Inspired, Strong, Engaged) Coalition, the Trust for Public Land, and Catamount Institute/Generation Wild as we facilitated an urban trail evaluation of the Sand Creek Trail at two locations. This work supports an the ongoing partnership with the Trust for Public Land focusing on engaging the RISE Youth Advisory Council on a summer project providing evaluations of 6 neighborhood parks, 5 schoolyards with adjacent park facilities, and the Sand Creek Trail corridor. Following the very successful process used during the Panorama Park master planning effort, the youth along with Resident Leadership will be developing a comprehensive listing of the parks and their current needs that will guide future projects and investment in this area of high need.
The work that these youth are engaged in right now is truly inspiring! They bring their unique point of view and ideas to the table and are learning to be critical of their environment and at the same time, truly creative in the solutions that they are sharing with the team. Creative Placemaking was a focus of the field trip this past Saturday, and after a site visit and tour to take in the current state of the location, the youth put their very novel ideas to paper during an artistic exercise at the Sand Creek
Library. They all had their own vision of what art, be it color, phrases or images would be cool to see incorporated into this unique outdoor art gallery location. The best part is seeing their excitement during the process as the realization that their initial ideas, mural concepts and plans can help create positive impact and bring beauty, along with a wonderful sense of place, to this critically important urban trail corridor in Southeast Colorado Springs.
Did You Know?
TOSC has a map on our website featuring all the dog parks in our region. You’ll find addresses and a list of amenities. Is there water? Is there an agility course? Is there a small dog park adjacent the large dog park?
We also have dog park brochures at our office we are happy to share.
Thanks to our great dog-loving sponsors who made these maps possible: Animal ER Care, Pub Dog and Colorado Springs Dog Training Center
Celebrate Park and Recreation Month
Each July we take time to celebrate our parks and the people committed to making them safe places to recreate. That includes parks staff, friends’ groups and that neighbor down the street picking up trash during their daily walks.
Our parks are often where we learn to love nature, playgrounds and picnics with friends and families. They are spaces to celebrate life’s special moments. Many of our favorite childhood and adult moments were spent in a park. My wedding reception was in a park. Our parks were essential throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when many community members found a new appreciation for these essential spaces. When playgrounds and community centers reopened there was immense joy. The National Recreation and Park Association has named “Our Park and Recreation Story” as this year’s theme. Share your story with us and we’ll share it with others.
Here is my Story:
I grew up in Wisconsin across the street from a neighborhood park. With two working parents, the park was our refuge. In winter we ice-skated until dark. In
summer we spent mornings at the public pool and afternoons playing games and creating crafts with teenagers hired by the recreation department. I learned
to swim, kick and throw a ball, run bases and learned what it meant to be a good sport thanks to the staff at Erb Park. I recall a study that found if a child spends time in parks as a youngster, they are likely to develop a life-long love of nature. It certainly was true for me. I still love parks. Thanks for letting me share my story, Susan Davies
John Stone Park – TOPS Park
Since 1997, the City of Colorado Springs has had a .1% sales tax that provides funding for the acquisition, development and preservation of trails, open space and parks. This TOPS funding has been used to preserve over 6,200 acres of open space, build 32 parks and construct over 50 miles of trails. One of those neighborhood parks that TOPS help fund is John Stone Park in Briargate. Just a stone’s throw from the John Venezia Park, a TOPS funded community park that serves as a recreational hub for the north side of town, John Stone Park is located at 4017 Family Place and shares a parking lot with the Briargate YMCA. John Stone Park provides the community with a skate park, athletic field, playground and a .5 mile walking loop. The walking paths through the park also serve as a connector to other trails that lead into surrounding neighborhoods and provides a sidewalk path to John Venezia Park. TOSC is spearheading the campaign to not only renew TOPS in Colorado Springs, but to increase it from .1% to .2%. This investment in our trails, open space and parks will ensure that our community will continue to add more parks, like John Stone Park, to recreate and build memories in.
What do Mosquitos, Plague and Moose have in Common?
Not that much; however, they have been found in our Pikes Peak region open spaces recently. With all of the recent rain that has fallen locally, mosquito season is now in full swing. If you are recreating near standing water over the next few weeks, be prepared to be annoyed by the blood thirsty insects. The good news: West Nile Virus has not been
found in the Pikes Peak region yet (only Weld County’s mosquitos have tested positive). The bad news: fleas in El Paso County have tested positive for plague. Although contracting plague in humans is rare, it can still happen and can easily be prevented. When hiking in areas of high concentrations of rabbits and prairie dogs, be sure to use insect repellent, stay on designated trails and keep pets leashed. Giving wildlife space not only keeps you safe from disease, but also keeps you safe from risky animal encounters with larger creatures. One of these large creatures was the moose that was roaming southwestern Colorado Springs near the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. The animal was caught by CPW and relocated to a much more pleasant location in the mountains. Through the late summer months and early fall, be on the lookout for deer, elk and moose as their numbers begin to pick up for rut.
Why Parks Matter
Congratulations to the 2021 Leadership Pikes Peak Leading Edge group that presented their final project and graduated from their program on July 22nd. The group of five emerging teenage leaders spent a month producing a series of short videos that explain “Why Parks Matter” from the perspective of teenagers in our community. They covered themes ranging from “Mental Health and our Parks” to “Parks are our Recreational Escape.” TOSC staff assisted them throughout the project with guidance on why communities need quality public land and the impact these places have on people. These videos will debut soon on the TOSC Facebook page.
Trail Volunteers – Save The Date
Sat. Aug 28, 8:00 – 11:00 AM
TOSC is partnering with Friends of Monument Preserve to tackle trail improvements. Plan to meet at the trailhead at the corner of Nursery Rd and Mt Herman Rd in Monument. More details to follow.
Please contact email@example.com if you are interested in volunteering!
Two Shoes Trek Challenge
Sat. Sept 4 – 11, 2021
This event showcases several county and city trails throughout our unique and beautiful landscape. Participants will run a 5-mile, 10-mile, or 15-mile course virtually on September 4, 5, or 6 in either Monument Valley Park or Palmer Park. The following weekend a live event will be held in Fox Run Regional Park. Participants will have the opportunity to run a 5k, 10k, or 30k. All proceeds from these events will go directly back into the Colorado Springs community for park and trail maintenance and to help PPRR with its mission of cultivating health and fitness in the Pikes Peak region through a community of runners and friends.
Concert at Fox Run Park
Thur. July 29, 6:00 – 8:00PM
Come to Fox Run to enjoy jazz/pop music by Dotsero and great food from local food trucks! Free Concerts in the Park is presented by: El Paso County Parks & Recreation.
P.E.O. Chapter House & Stratton Park Public Meeting
Thur. July 29, 6:00 – 7:00 PM
The Cheyenne Canon Conservationists will host a public meeting at the Bristol Brewing Company, 1604 S Cascade Ave, to apprise neighborhood preservationists about the closing of the Colorado Springs P.E.O. Chapter House, the relocation of its elderly residents and the potential sale of the historic 8.8-acre property for possible new housing. The facility and adjoining property are located at 1819 W. Cheyenne Rd. and features a length of Cheyenne Creek and pristine wildlife habitats. Neighborhood activists would like to discuss conservation options as the property was owned by Winfield Scott Stratton and was structured as a public park in 1902. Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrating COS 150 Years
Sat. July 31, 11:00 – 8:00 PM
Come visit TOSC, we are part of the 150th celebration and encourage you to come play our “TOPS Challenge” You think you know the TOPS parks, trails and open spaces? Test your skill and win a 1 of a kind “I Love Parks” sticker. We will be located near
the corner of West Vermijo and Cascade. Come say hello and let’s talk about TOPS!
Downtown Celebration will begin with the parade at 11:00. Visit and interact with more than 60 booths and activities that honor the city’s past and celebrate its future. There will also be 24 food trucks, beer gardens and two stages with a combined 16 hours of fun, live music from popular local bands like Martini Shot.
Learn more at coloradosprings.gov/cos150.
PureWater Demonstration Project
Colorado Springs Utilities has a long history of planning for our future. The tour of the PureWater Colorado Direct Potable Reuse Mobile Demonstration will showcase one potential option to provide a healthy and viable water. This project is a collaborative effort between Springs Utilities, the Colorado School of Mines, Carollo Engineering, and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The PureWater Colorado Demonstration is a mobile unit that shows the advanced purification process behind direct potable reuse: cleaning recycled water to a level that meets or exceeds all drinking water standards. Through use of a multi-barrier purification process, PureWater will demonstrate how to make safe and sustainable drinking water from locally controlled resources.
Select a date and time that fits your schedule. Tours are limited to 24 participants, age 9 years or older, on a first-come-first served basis.
More info and tour registrations available at www.csu.org.
Work Day at Palmer Park
Sat. Aug 7, 8:00 – 12:00 PM
Do you use and love Palmer Park? Help keep it clean, safe and enjoyable for all by volunteering with the Guardians of Palmer Park (GoPP). You can fix trails, pick up trash, cleanup graffiti or help with a special project like documenting the natural environment.