Austin Bluffs Open Space - Trail Work Underway
COS Parks staff report their trail contractor, Timberline Trailcraft, is starting trail work in Austin Bluffs Open Space. That work will include over 4.5 miles of new trail, improvements to 1.5 miles of trail and closure of nearly 3 miles of unsustainable rogue trails. Once complete, the open space trail system will include a designated multi-use multi direction Pulpit Rock Summit Trail, completion of the “Rim Trail” and “Spine Trail.”
The trail improvements are based on the recommendations of the 2020 Austin Bluffs Open Space Master and Management Plan. There will be additional improvements in the years ahead based on funding, with future projects including expanding the S. Pulpit Rock Trailhead, the hiking only summit trail to Pulpit Rock, a downhill mountain bike trail and additional open space connector trails.
PARK AND TRAIL News
Black Forest Section 16 – Your Feedback
For the past 25 years, El Paso County Parks has leased 91 acres of Black Forest Section 16 from the State Land Board. The new lease would increase annual costs by 4700%, from $452 per year to $21,825 per year. We shared that information in last week’s Trail Talk and asked you to respond. Overwhelmingly you told us you love the 4-mile trail and don’t want to lose it. Some of you use it several times a week. A few of you said it’s the reason you live where you do. Some of you volunteered to come up with ways to pay for the increase. Some said they think we should find a way to buy the land from the State Land Board. Now that you’ve had a week to think about it, perhaps more of you would be willing to weigh in.
Please take a moment to take this short poll. We’ll share results with the EPC Parks Staff, Parks Advisory Committee and Board of County Commissioners.
TOSC sent a letter to the State Land Board requesting them to reconsider the significant increase and consider a phased in approach. Like the EPC Parks Staff, we are committed to preserving Black Forest Section 16 for the equestrians, hikers, runners and cyclists who use it regularly. As one of you explained it: “It would be so tragic if the land was sold or shut down from public use. Please do everything possible to ensure this does not happen.”
10 years ago this week the community watched in horror as the Waldo Canyon fire spread rapidly and eventually burned 18,000 acres and destroyed 346 homes. Since then the forest has been recovering. In 2023 the TOPS program will invest $450,000 to reclaim the newly purchased Black Canyon Quarry. Once the reclamation is completed, planning can get underway leading to the construction of a trailhead to accommodate Waldo Canyon users. 2023 TOPS money will also be used to address gaps in the Chamberlain Trail. TOPS is 25 years old this year. Celebrate by spending time in TOPS properties this summer.
Horsethief Trail Reroute
You may recall that last year it was discovered that a small section of trail crossed private property. The land owner put up a sign and threatened to close access to Pancake Rocks, Ring the Peak Trail and Horsethief Falls & Park. With Forest Service support, Colorado Mountain Club teamed up with Friends of the Peak to reroute the trail. Over the weekend a stellar group of volunteers transformed 540ft of forested hillside into a walkable path! There is still more work to be done, but users can now avoid the private property and it ensures public access to this area will continue.
30th Street Corridor Project update
The 30th Street Corridor Project has achieved a milestone during the construction phase and the project team has re-opened access to Garden of the Gods from the north along with opening up the roundabout at the main park entrance at Gateway Road. The roadway has been widened through this section but please note that final work is still being performed, so please mind the signage and cones for the safety of the crews. 30th Street south from Gateway Road is now closed from the roundabout to Fontenero Road and will receive a similar widening and upgrade. The Foothills Trail underpass will provide access under Gateway Road for north/south traffic and will connect to the Gateway Trail for access directly into Garden of the Gods Park. Having been recently named among the top 10 attractions in the world by Tripadvisor, the upgrades and enhancements to the roadway and urban trail connections will be greatly appreciated by our visitors and local residents to this iconic Colorado Springs destination.
Leave No Trace Gold Standard
Congratulations to the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department on achieving the Leave No Trace Gold Standard Site status for our community’s regional parks and open spaces! 16 City of Colorado Springs regional parks, trails and open spaces received the designation including Austin Bluffs OS, Blodgett OS, Bluestem Prairie OS, Corral Bluffs OS, Garden of the Gods Park, High Chaparral Open Space, Manitou Incline, N. Cheyenne Canon Park, North Slope Recreation Area, Palmer Park, Red Rock Canyon OS, Sinton Pond OS, Sondermann Park, South Slope Recreation Area, Stratton Open Space and Ute Valley Park. To achieve this status, it took a heroic effort from City of Colorado Springs staff to achieve the benchmarks needed to qualify. Many stakeholders and partners in the parks, like TOSC, played a small role in helping the City succeed. TOSC’s Trail Ambassador program, Leave No Trace articles in the weekly TOSC E-Newsletter and commitment to using LNT principles at events and trail cleanups helped the effort.
Coleman Community Park
Last Thursday, the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services department and project consulting team hosted a very successful and well-attended public event near what will be the new 70 acre Coleman Community Park site. There were displays set up to view the many different recreational features that this exciting Northeast COS park development could feature. Attendees had the opportunity to talk with the designers and City staff to provide personal input and their vision for what they would like to see in this new recreational space. This feedback was greatly appreciated by the team and will help shape the initial design concepts. Additionally, the staff provided two walking tours of the planned park property that highlighted six different and very unique areas of the landscape and Sand Creek corridor that will be included in the development.
The project team will now take the citizen input and create a draft concept plan for the park and will schedule another public meeting later in 2022. We will continue to monitor the process and will be sure to share the details of this meeting when they become available. The Coleman Community Park project will incorporate many features of a traditional large park facility, but will also include trails and wetland access to the adjacent retention pond and enhancements being planned by the Water Resources Engineering Department for Sand Creek, making it a truly unique development for Northeast Colorado Springs.
If you were not able to attend the meeting but would like to be a part of the process, please visit the Coleman Park Master Plan website and take the survey, sign up to be on the newsletter, and plan to take a Self-Guided Walking Tour using the map resource.
Bike to Work DAY
TODAY, 6:00 – 9:00 AM
Bike commuters can enjoy FREE breakfast at any of nearly 40 stations on the trail system and at local businesses! Register to ride and plan your commute with the interactive map. There’s no need to register for specific breakfast stations in advance, just let us know you’ll be riding. Visit TOSC at the Sustain-a-Center, right off Shooks Run Trail, we will have PANCAKES!
Craft for a Cause
Wednesdays 4:00 – 8:00 PM
Friends of Ute Valley Park – June 22
Corral Bluffs Alliance – June 29th
Come enjoy a good beer at Red Leg Brewing Company and support the outdoors! Red Leg will contribute $1 of each RLBC pint sold. Learn more about each group and how you can help protect these unique resources. Friends of Ute Valley Park host evening trail crews; get info about signing up. Corral Bluffs is not open to the public, so ask about scheduling a guided hike.
Connect with Friends of Ute Valley Park www.friendsofutevalleypark.com
You can learn more about Corral Bluffs at www.corralbluffs.org.
Palmer Park Trail Crew
Wed. June 22, 5:30 – 7:30pm
The Guardians of Palmer Park are trying something new this year; Wednesday Evening Trail Work! The first event is this week and maybe if it goes well you’ll get to go out for celebratory beer after. 🙂
Here is the registration link, with details on where to meet: https://cerv.is/0132gi6Nomj
Manitou Springs Pollinator Party
Sat. June 25, 9:00 – 12:00 PM
A parade, garden planting, live bluegrass music, seed giveaways and much more will be happening at Mansion’s Park in Manitou. The Manitou Pollinators, Butterfly Pavilion, Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District and other community partners, are hosting multiple family-friendly festivities during Pollinator Week, June 20-26th. The goal is to raise awareness, provide fun activities, and facilitate multiple events supporting bees, butterflies, and clean water. Volunteers with PaC-MAN will be offering either self-guided walking/cycling tours during the Manitou Springs Pollinator Festival. Find out more here.
Event is free and open to everyone. Visit www.manitoupollinators.org for more information.
Early Bird Hike & Bike at Garden of the Gods
Wed. June 29, 5:00 – 8:00 AM
The Early Bird Hike & Bike, a scaled version of Motorless Morning. It is an opportunity for recreationalists to enjoy the park and its roadways without motor vehicles. E-assist bicycles are allowed, as are all other power-driven mobility devices (OPDMD) and inline or roller skates. Per normal park rules, skateboards/longboards are not allowed. Please be mindful of and on the lookout for other users. Parking is available in the naturally-surfaced overflow lot near the park’s main entrance on 30th Street and in the parking lot at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post. Accessible parking spaces are available at the Trading Post.
Bike Colorado Springs needs a few more volunteers 6am-8am, please contact Paula, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you can help out.