UPDATE: Black Forest Section 16
What’s next? Many of you have asked what you can do to help secure Section 16. Some of you have said you would be willing to make a donation in support of the lease or possibly the eventual purchase of the property.
We have shared those comments with EPC Parks Staff. They will set up a fund where all donations will be used to support Black Forest Section 16.
The next EPC Parks Advisory Board meeting is July 13th at 1:30 pm at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave. Public comments are allowed near the start of the meeting. Let the Advisory Board hear from you! TOSC will speak. Board Members and Parks Staff will hear a summary of your comments. The lease increase will eventually be presented formally to the EPC Board of County Commissioners.
Black Forest Section 16 Survey Results
Over the past 3 weeks, TOSC has been collecting survey responses capturing how our outdoor community wants to move forward with Black Forest Section 16.
423 people participated in the three question survey.
73.7% said they support negotiating the purchase of the 91 acres property. 22.7% said to renew the lease at the higher rate. Just 3.6% said the property should be let go.
Well over 60% of the participants recreate in the park three time or more per month. Only 4% had never been to the property.
The survey participants were asked how losing the property would personally impact them. Here are a few of the answers…
“It would be a loss for our community as a whole because we need parks and open space to be a healthy, well-rounded community.”
“It would be a huge loss for the community in the Peyton/Falcon/Black Forest and eastern COS areas. There are very few trails that we do not have to drive to the west side to access. This is one of the best trails in the COS area, in my opinion, and it would be a shame to let it go.”
PARK AND TRAIL News
Rock Island Trail Work
A quarter mile portion of the Rock Island Trail located just north of Heatherdale Drive near the intersection with Heatherdale Court will be temporarily closed as city crews replace a stormwater drainage pipe. Construction will begin Tuesday, July 5 and is expected to last until August 19. Trail users will be detoured northwest of the Rock Island Trail. Detours will be clearly marked and safety signage will be present.
Florissant Fossil Beds Trail Improvements
The trail system at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument has been receiving refurbishments this summer from the Mile High Youth Corps. The crew has been working on rebuilding and stabilizing portions of trails. One of the bigger projects included building a new wooden stair system on the Boulder Trail.
Glitter on University Park Trails
From time to time, TOSC members and followers call the TOSC office to relay strange things they find while on the trails. Recently, a report of glitter on a trail in University Open Space (Austin Bluffs) was made. The glitter was found in little piles spaced out in even intervals. We may never know why this happened, but we can tell you why glitter is harmful to nature. Glitter is a microplastic that never leaves the environment. Once glitter is on the ground, it is nearly impossible to completely remove it. Some amounts will be consumed by wildlife and most of the particles will eventually find its way into the watershed creating issues for drinking water and aquatic life. This unfortunate event is a great reminder to consider the Leave No Trace Principles before recreating outdoors. Leaving anything behind on trails will have impacts on fellow visitors’ trail experience and the health of the ecosystem.
Homestead Ranch Park Master Plan Comments
How to Submit Comments: Read the Draft Master Plan and send your comments to GregStachon@elpasoco.com. Deadline: July 8th
TOSC’s Submitted Comments:
As part of our comments, TOSC Staff encouraged EPC Parks Staff to keep fish stocked in the pond, consider additional uses for the large field adjacent the parking lot (currently underutilized) and to turn the social trail that rims the top of the park into a system trail and complete it. It is in good shape and provides great views and a pleasant forest experience. Normally TOSC does not support social trails, but in this case it provides users a good experience and does not appear to degrade the park.
Comments will be compiled and included in the master plan. The final plan will go to the Parks Advisory Board and eventually BoCC for final approval.
Sat. Aug 13, 8:30pm Walk/Run; 10:30pm Bike Ride
The 26th Starlight Spectacular is in the Garden of the Gods Park this August! Experience one of the world’s top attractions under the blanket of thousands of twinkling stars and distant city lights. Don’t miss out on live music, amazing themed rest stops, pancakes, costume contests and more!
Events like this don’t happen without amazing volunteers. Signup as a Volunteer
Name the Wildflower
Wildflower season is in full swing in the Pikes Peak region thanks to the recent monsoon moisture! Can you guess the name of this wildflower that was spotted growing along the Lori Cohen Memorial Trail (A public 3.5 mile UCCS trail near Austin Bluffs Open Space)?
TOSC is Back in GIVE!
We are excited to announce that TOSC was selected to be in the 2022 Give Campaign! It is a huge honor to join the other 70+ local nonprofits in the region’s largest annual philanthropic event that will start on November 1st. Learn more about the Give Campaign.
Is your business interested in being a matching grant sponsor of the TOSC Give Campaign? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
MER – Mountain Equipment Recyclers
When it comes to great partners, few come close to MER. When MER started selling gently used outdoor equipment almost a decade ago, TOSC was one of its first partners. We encouraged our TOSC members to donate used outdoor clothing and gear to MER and make TOSC the beneficiary. Your generosity and that relationship has generated thousands of dollars for TOSC programs supporting trails, parks and open space. Thanks to MER and thanks to you!
New to town? Check out MER at 2222 Bott Ave. or at merecyclers.com
Patricia Cameron on the Pacific Coast Trail
We’d like to highlight an awesome adventure that Patricia Cameron (member of the TOSC Board of Directors and Founder/Executive Director of the local nonprofit Blackpackers) is on this Summer. Patricia is currently hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Her backpacking trip will take her along the 2,650 mile PCT route. During her trek, she is contributing as Backpacker’s 2022 Pacific Trail Correspondent, providing valuable insight into the adventure and challenges that thru-hiking one of the National Scenic Trails provides.
(Photo credit: from a recent post by Patricia on Facebook)
Garden of the Gods Star Party
Thurs. July 7, 8:30 – 10:30 PM
With the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society leading the event, you’ll have free access to their high-powered telescope to see stars, nebulas, and constellations to your heart’s content! As always, the event is completely free; just show up to the Garden of the Gods Nature and Visitor Center, and the will be here to walk you through!
Red Rock Canyon Workday
Sat. July 16, 8:00 – 1:00 PM
This project will continue work improving drainage and trail to keep water off of and protect timber steps along the Contemplative Trail.
Volunteers will meet crew leaders the Sand Canyon lot for Red Rock Canyon. From the main entrance at 3550 W High St, take the first exit from the roundabout. Volunteers should bring: sturdy boots or shoes, rain jacket, long pants, work gloves, sunglasses/eye protection, sunscreen, a hat, water, and snacks.
El Paso County Parks: Paint Mines Interpretive Hike
July 23rd, 9:30 – 11:30am
Paint Mines guided hikes will occur on select Saturdays and will cover topics such as the geology, ecology, and human history of the site. Our amazing interpreters will show you around the park and the fascinating rock features while they share with you their vast knowledge of the area . They will bring out some of the amazing artifacts and fossils that have been found and have protected for everyone to see.
Pulpit Rock Workday
Sat. July 30, 8:30 – 12:00 PM
Come join your fellow community members at the Pulpit Rock mitigating erosion hazards and restoring recently closed areas of the park. The group will be starting from the South trailhead behind the BMW dealership and splitting into teams. Volunteers should bring: sturdy boots or shoes, rain jacket, long pants, work gloves, sunglasses/eye protection, sunscreen, a hat, water, and snacks.