High Fire Danger
Dry and windy conditions this spring have led to much of the Pikes Peak region being listed in moderate drought. March and April are typically some of the wettest months; however, this spring has seen far more fire weather warnings than usual. Over the past few weeks, there have been small grass and wildland fires including a small fire near North Cheyenne Canon Park and grass fires in eastern El Paso County. Current conditions prompted the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to place a Stage 1 Fire Ban in unincorporated El Paso County.
We all can do our part to prevent wildfires. If you are going to camp, check for fire restrictions where you plan on building camp fires and then read about how to Leave No Trace with campfires. For those who hike and ride, be mindful of parking hot vehicles over dry grasses.
PARK AND TRAIL News
New Avian Influenza Detected in Colorado
In both wild and domestic birds, a new strain avian influenza has been detected. The strain has killed millions of birds and has been detected in every major flyway that birds use to migrate. At this point, waterfowl, raptors and domestic poultry have been hit hardest. The threat is so elevated, the Denver Zoo has moved their birds indoors and local bird rehab centers, like the Nature’s Educators Rehab Center, have stopped taking in new patients. Outdoor recreationalists can help slow the spread by birdwatching in areas away from bodies of water this spring, sanitizing clothes and equipment that comes in contact with waterfowl (droppings and feathers) and not feeding waterfowl. People cannot catch Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) at this time.
Pueblo’s Arkansas River Trail Closure
Due to the recent wildfire near Pueblo Boulevard on Sunday, April 10, the Pueblo Fire Department and Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department have issued a temporary closure of the Arkansas River Trail. This area is on the northside which is approximately .6 miles in length. The Arkansas River Trail from City Park to the Whitlock Water Treatment Plant will be closed until further notice due fallen trees and debris on the trail.
The area affected includes the footbridge below City Park traveling east until the Whitlock Water Treatment Plant. Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department will update the public of additional information related to this closure as it becomes available.
The Arkansas River Trail is a popular biking location during the spring due to more mild conditions than what is found further north in the Pikes Peak region.
Teller County Search and Rescue Story
In February of 2022, Colorado Search and Rescue Association announced its first-ever blog contest, open to both backcountry search and rescue members and non-members. The following article by Teller County Search and Rescue members recently won third place in the mission story category and gives a glimpse into what it’s like when a team gets overloaded.
Looking for volunteer opportunities and events to celebrate the 52nd Earth Month? Here is a list of different workdays, cleanups and events taking place this month around the Pikes Peak Region.
- April 16th, 9am to 3pm: 25th Annual Earth Day Celebration at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. Come enjoy some outdoor family fun & environmental education. Plus, free admission to Rock Ledge Ranch for the day!
- April 22nd, 23rd and 24th: The Friends of Peregrine Parks, Friends of Ute Valley Park and Guardians of Palmer Park are hosting a triple header of workdays in their parks. Each workday is sponsored by a different brewery and participants will receive one free drink at the after-work gathering.
- April 30th, 5am to 12pm: Volunteer at Motorless Morning in the Garden of the Gods Park. Contact Paula Krantz, email@example.com for more information.
- April 30th: The Great American Cleanup. In the Fountain Creek Watershed, there will be over 30 cleanup locations. More Information here
Equestrian Advisory Council
Last week, TOSC hosted its first open-to-the-public Equestrian Advisory Council Meeting. TOSC wanted to hear from equestrians about what is happening on the trails from their perspective and how we can best advocate on their behalf. Nearly 20 local equestrians attended, and after hearing some updates on El Paso County Parks from County Park Planner Ross Williams, the group discussed with TOSC staff their thoughts on how their trail experiences could be improved. At the top of their list was educating trail users about best practices when encountering a horse on the trail.
Did you know that equestrians want you to take these steps when you approach them on a trail:
- Announce Yourself Verbally with a friendly “Hello!”, “Hi! I’m approaching from the left!”
- Move to the side of the trail (if you are in a group, have the entire group move to one side of the trail).
- Communicate with the rider: “Is it o.k. if I go around you?”, “Is it o.k. if I approach your horse?”
Veda Salon & Spa Hosting Month-Long Fundraisers benefiting TOSC
Thank You Veda Salon & Spa!
Who wouldn’t love to win this display? Hand-carved Trekking Pole, top of the line back-pack and so much more. Thanks to Veda Salon for choosing TOSC as their Earth Month Non-Profit. Stop by any of their Colorado Springs locations and you might be the lucky winner!
This Saturday, TOSC Staff will be at all three locations with trail updates with ways you can get involved in Earth Month activities, our Trail Ambassador Program or connect with one of our many fine Friends Groups. Come say hello!
Pikes Peak Crew Leader Training
Sat. April 30th & Sun. May 1st
The Pikes Peak Regional Crew Leader Training (PPRCLT) is an intensive weekend-long training for experienced volunteers who are interested in becoming certified Volunteer Crew Leaders. While in the training, participants will learn how to lead safe, successful trail projects and develop basic trail construction and restoration skills. The training is organized in partnership with Trails and Open Space Coalition, Rocky Mountain Field Institute, and Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services.
Friends Group Updates
Excitement is building for new Friends Groups and new opportunities in established groups! Here is a run down of what is going on:
- The Friends of Briargate Parks are the newest friends group in the region. They are forming a leadership team and will be working with the City to organize a cleanup or workday later this spring.
- Interested in serving on a Friends Group Board? The Friends of Garden of the Gods have open positions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Planning is ongoing for the Friends of Austin Bluffs. This future new Friends Group will have an information meeting in late May.
Kids on Bikes Needs Bike Donations
Has your kid outgrown a bike? Please consider donating it at the Pedal Station! Help inspire children to live active, healthy lives through bicycling. Your donation can make a huge difference in our community, and Kids on Bikes makes it so easy.
Donations accepted 11:00 – 6:00 PM,
2222 Bott Ave
Stop by Mountain Equipment Recyclers (MER) while your at it at to find high quality new and used gear!
Seasons of the Cañon
Sat. April 16th, 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Enjoy Marjorie and Jim Van Hoys’ photographic and musical interpretations that follow North Cheyenne Cañon through all four seasons!
Marjorie will present her North Cheyenne Cañon slideshow with her original piano composition for the first time, and Jim will show a collection of his photographs of the area. This video premiere will take place on April 16, 2022, at 1pm, at Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center.
The Van Hoys have volunteered in North Cheyenne Cañon for more than 10 years, falling for the beauty of the area! Jim has always enjoyed photography but has been exploring the genre more extensively since his retirement. His award-winning photos have been exhibited in galleries and juried competitions along the Front Range from Pueblo to Denver.
Seating is limited, please RSVP to Starsmore.Staff@ColoradoSprings.gov to attend!
SPROUTS FOR SPROUTS
Wed. May 4, 4:00 – 9:00 PM
Join Catamount Institute at Goat Patch Brewery for a fun, foliage-filled, fundraiser! Vegetable, flower, and houseplant starts will be available for sale – first come, first served. Enjoy a pint of the It Takes A Tribe Red Ale, $.25 per beer supports Catamount programs! Raise a glass to nature, outdoor education, and great beer!
ALSO…PLANT BABIES NEEDED! To donate plants, contact Alli, email@example.com. Funds will support Catamount’s scholarship program which allows underserved youth to participate in an amazing, weeklong nature camp.
Mid Shooks Run Community Garden
The growing season is April 15th – Oct 31st. All gardens must be planted or be in the process of planting by June 1st. Please water wisely, it is better to water deeply and less frequently. The regular beds are $40 and the large ones are $60. Click here to view the application.
For questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Bear Creek Organic Garden Half-Plots Still Available
The Charmaine Nymann Community Garden at Bear Creek Regional Park has just a few garden plots still available. Plot fees include pre-season tilling and water. Beginner Gardeners will find plenty of support from other members. The oldest community garden in the Pikes Peak region is managed by the gardeners and provides organic vegetables for members and the community. To learn more: www.bearcreekgardens.org.
To reserve a plot contact Todd Hegert: 719.329.8873
Liquid Lecture: Colorado Springs Sustainability
Wed. April 20, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Join the Brewshed Alliance at Storybook Brewing for a talk with Colorado Springs Sustainability Coordinator Samantha Bailey. Come learn about a city-wide sustainability action plan and goals for the future of Colorado Springs. Attendees get $1 off pints!