2023 TOPS Projects - Trails
The TOPS (trails, open space and parks) tax ordinance allows up to 20% of the budget to be used for trail projects. In 2023 $250,000 will be used to extend the Chamberlain Trail in the Skyway Neighborhood and in the newly acquired Fisher Canyon open space. $250,000 will be used for a bridge at Greenways at Sand Creek Park. The bridge will connect the Sand Creek Trail to the new park. The remaining $1.8 million in the trails category will be used as grant match for federal dollars in order to complete the southern end of the Legacy Loop. As part of a railroad bridge connection, this portion of the Legacy Loop has been a challenge for decades. Combining it with critical bridge projects could finally address this gap.
PARK AND TRAIL News
Parks & Recreation Month
July is Parks and Recreation Month in Colorado. Celebrate by spending time in your favorite park or better yet – check out a new park and try something new. Walk the fitness stations around Prospect Lake. Every try pickle ball? Stop by any local court and chances are someone will let you give it a try. Or take your pooch to one of our many dog parks in the area. You’ll find a list and description at this link.
And if you see a park ranger assisting the public or park staff performing maintenance – be sure to thank them for what they do!
Glad You Asked!
Over the past few weeks, TOSC members and followers send us questions about their favorite parks, trails and nature. Here are just a few of the questions…
Q: “What is going on near Pulpit Rock? We have seen crews out working on trails around the area this summer.”
A: A $220,000 project is underway in Austin Bluffs Open Space to add roughly 4 miles of new trails, improve current trails and close roughly 3 miles of unsustainable non-system trails. This project will include the completion of the Rim Trail and Spine Trail along with a multi-directional Pulpit Rock Summit Trail.
Q: “With all the construction work along Black Forest Road between Woodmen Road and Research Parkway, are there any plans for a regional trail being added?”
A: The Black Forest Road Widening Project started this past April and is expected to be completed late in 2024. There are plans for 10 foot-wide concrete paths for the west side of Black Forest Road from Woodmen to Research. This path will then be able to connect to the established trail system in Wolf Ranch.
Q: “What happened to the two moose that were spotted along Monument Creek by Criterium Bikes?”
A: The two young bull moose were spotted on July 8th wandering along Monument Creek. At some point in the day, the moose got too close to I-25 and were tranquilized. They were then moved to safer location in the mountains. More of the Story
Name the Wildflower
The wildflowers of the Pikes Peak region are reaching their peak color! Can you name this type of wildflower?
Clue: This common southern Rocky Mountain species gives the impression of numerous white stars in an airy tuft. The flowers are very tiny (about 1/4″) and often overlooked. It is a member of the Pink or Carnation Family.
Glow for Good
Wed. July 20, 6:00 – 10:00 PM
Red Leg Brewing Company
Urban Veggie, CrossFit SoCo, DJ Craftmatic, & Red Leg are hosting an evening of music, movement, community, spirits, giveaways, & philanthropic goodness! In the honor of National Parks and Recreation Month, TOSC has been chosen as the honored nonprofit and will funds raised from the evening!
The evening will consist of a 60 minute Hatha/Power sequence by Christy Cole (Urban Veggie), a 30 minute Bodyweight HIIT class by Garrison Ortiz (CrossFit SoCo), and then some FANTASTIC local vendors/businesses will be providing giveaways to keep the good vibes flowing!
$25 gets you 2 classes, 1 “opportunity to win” ticket, and 1 beer!
Family Bike Ride in Southeast COS
Thur. July 21, 5:30 – 7:30PM
This Thursday, join Trails and Open Space Coalition, Blackpackers, and Kids on Bikes for a fun 4.3 mile ride from Southeast & Armed Services YMCA to Wildflower Park and back using the Sand Creek Trail. Connectivity is the key and being able to navigate all on paths and urban trails to gain access to this beautiful park, funded through our TOPS (Trails, Open Space and Parks Tax) revenues is one of the reasons that the Kids on Bikes bike libraries are here. We are excited to be co-hosting this event with Blackpackers and look forward to many miles of smiles along the way as we connect a new generation to the experience of traveling along our urban trails, enjoying all of the beauty along the way. And you know that there will be popsicles!
To register for this ride, use this link HERE.
Sat. Aug 13, 8:30 PM – 12:00 AM
Five Reasons to Join Us!
-For the 1st time it will be entirely held in Garden of the Gods – one of the most famous Parks in the World! Practically a Full Moon that night will make it truly spectacular.
– For the 1st time we are inviting walkers and runners to join us. You’ll have your own special start time and be encouraged to don lights and help light up the Garden
– Hot pancakes will be ready when hungry runners, walkers and cyclists return to the Visitor Center.
– Two magical rest stops along the route will add to the fun. Plus live music at the start and finish.
– Your support allows TOSC to do what we love to do – advocate for more acres of open space, better trail connectivity and well maintained parks.
Events like this don’t happen without amazing volunteers. Volunteer Signup
Trail Ambassador Update
Heat, storms and busy trailheads have not stopped the region’s Trail Ambassadors from having a great summer season! The TOSC Open Space Trail Ambassadors spent nearly 40 hours on the trails just last Sunday in Blodgett Open Space. They reported finding mostly polite hikers and very few visitors who needed refreshers on Leave No Trace principles. The Green Mountain Falls Ambassadors, a program started with the assistance from TOSC and continued by the Town of Green Mountain Falls, has had success meeting hundreds of visitors at the central trailhead map area near the town pond. Are you interested in making a difference in your open spaces? TOSC is looking for volunteers for to be Trail Ambassadors in the Pineries Open Space in Black Forest. For more information, email TOSC Program Coordinator, Aaron Rogers, at email@example.com.
Hiking Pancake Rocks – Part of the Ring the Peak Trail
A group of TOSC hikers summited Pancake Rocks last week and learned how TOSC is proposing to make this stretch of Ring the Peak Trail more sustainable and accessible to cyclists and equestrians. Thanks to El Pomar and LART support and partnering with the USFS, trail work is expected to begin this fall. It’s time to extend and improve the Ring the Peak Trail!!
The Mobile Music Project
at the Middle Shooks Run Showcase
We thank the Middle Shooks Run Neighborhood Association for putting on another enjoyable Summertime party in the park that highlighted many businesses, organizations (TOSC included!), and creative efforts all located within this vibrant neighborhood. The planning committee did a fabulous job and we were excited to be a part of the event. Once again, the Mobile Music Project shifted into high gear to provide the off-the-grid power for the announcements, two sets performed by neighborhood musician Banjo Bev, finishing with the crowd pleasing Kid-Powered Karaoke. This event truly showcases the value of parks, urban trail corridors and the ability to activate these spaces at the neighborhood level. We’ve been told to save the date of Saturday, July 15th for the 2023 event and you can be sure we’ll be there!
Watershed and Pet Safety Day
at Stratton Open Space
Sat. July 23, 9:00 – 1:00 PM
No poop gets left behind this weekend in Stratton Open Space! Park Rangers will address the importance of recreating responsibly and will support TOSC in handing out free bags and encouraging dog owners to Scoop the Poop! Everyone who brings back their pet’s waste to the trailhead trashcan will be entered to win an Animal ER Care First Aid Kit. Colorado Springs Utilities will be around to chat about the South Suburban Reservoir, water supply and watershed protection. And finally, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region will provide information on dog enforcement and safety.
Get Outside: Summer Edition
Sat. July 23, 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Come chill with Kinship Landing! Free beer for the first 25 people, outdoor swag giveaways, hang with adventurous friends, meet stewardship heroes, and casually learn about how our beloved outdoors.
5pm-6pm – Optional 5K Run with Aravaipa
6pm-8pm – Get Outside event in the Greenhaus
with awesome Vendors: Aravaipa Running Co, City Rock, Trails & Open Space Coalition, Pikes Peak Marathon, Colorado Running Co, American Trail Running Association, Fjall Raven and UpaDowna.
Musical Mondays at Monument Valley Park
Mon. July 25 6:30 PM
Come enjoy a FREE outdoor Concert! Kick it to Frog’n Fiddle – Classic Rock, Bluegrass & Folk. Bring a blanket/chair, your friends and a picnic or grab a bite from one of the great Food Truck.
LOCATION: Lawn to the West of the Fine Arts Center (Mesa Road & West Cache La Poudre St)
Early Bird Hike & Bike at Garden of the Gods
Wed. July 27, 6:00 – 8:00AM
Take advantage of this chance to enjoy the park and its roadways without motor vehicles. E-assist bicycles are allowed, as are all other power-driven mobility devices 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 is looking for 4-5 volunteers to help out the City Parks staff at the entrance, roaming the park on your bike, and help direct traffic in the parking lot. Please contact Paula, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are willing to help.
Happy Trails at Cottonwood
Sat. July 30, 10:00 – 1:00 PM
Come meet members of the Bike Colorado Sprigs outreach team along the Cottonwood Creek Trail. Get free bicycle safety materials to share and get a refill your water bottle. Stop by to say hello and learn how you can get involved!