News Wednesday September 7, 2022

Sustain-a-Center Rain Garden

A rain garden is a depressed area that collects rainwater from a roof, driveway or street and allows it to soak into the ground. This area provides moisture for grasses and flowering perennials to thrive. Rain gardens are an attractive cost-effective way to reduce runoff, help filter out pollutants and provide food and shelter for butterflies, birds and other wildlife.


In 2017, Conservation Specialist Lisa Pace designed a rain garden to replace the Kentucky bluegrass lawn at the Sustain-a-Center. Now in 2022, project champions, Michael and Theresa Rigney (TOSC Volunteers), Sharie Dodge (TOSC Office Manager) and Samantha Bailey (City Sustainability Coordinator) pushed the plan to become a reality. Staff and volunteers from TOSC, Concrete Couch, Middle Shooks Run Community Garden, Kids on Bikes and the Colorado Native Plant Society have worked dozens of hours in the rain garden to keep it thriving. This is a multi-year project with plans for expansion featuring a wildscape/pollinator garden and an edible plant garden. 


The rain garden at the Sustain-a-Center contains: Hillside Creeper PineAmerican Plum Tree, Apple Tree, Baby Blue RabbitbrushCranesbill GeraniumBlond Ambition Blue Grama, Golden CurrantsYellow Pineleaf PenstemonMesa Verde SpruceMexican Feather GrassRhubarbRocky Mountain PenstemonSheep Fescue GrassBuffalo Grass, Sunset Hyssop, Milkweed, Echinacea, Gaillardia.

Additional features of the rain garden include a footpath, a channel for excess water to flow and pool, a water harvesting rain barrel and a bench built by Concrete Couch. Each plant will have a sign to help identify the plant and a link to find additional information.


Shout-out to City Parks for providing local boulders for the hardscape!! Thank you Scott Abbott and Ranger Larry Kitt for going above and beyond. You Rock! Also, a HUGE thank you to Rick’s Garden Center for providing discounted plants and expert knowledge.


The Sustain-a-Center houses several non-profit groups that aim to help our community thrive. Learn more about Colorado Native Plants SocietyConcrete Couch, CONOKids on BikesMid Shooks Run Community Garden and Trails and Open Space Coalition.


Learn how to build your own rain garden



What is Hyperphagia?


Hyperphagia is the relentless need to eat and drink to fatten up for hibernation. For our local black bears, that means they need to consume 20,000 calories per day before the start of winter. Making this monumental task more difficult, our late spring freeze killed many of the food sources above 7,000 feet that bears depend on. This will likely push bears into areas that will create more conflict with humans. When out recreating this fall, even in urban areas, remain bear aware! 


Colorado Parks and Wildlife Press Release




Friends of Monument Preserve: Treasurer Needed


Friends of Monument Preserve are looking for a new Treasurer to join their Board of Directors. This volunteer position will manage/report on FoMP bank balances, write checks, reporting related to 501c3 status, participate in month Board meetings and participate in volunteer trail work nights (as desired). 


If interested, please send an email to

Great Outdoors Colorado Turns 30 Years Old!

Happy Birthday to one of Colorado’s most successful programs. Over the past 3 decades GOCO has committed over $1.3 billion dollars to more than 5,500 projects, preserving 1,256,793 acres in Colorado. In El Paso County, GOCO has invested $56 million dollars, awarded 201 grants and conserved 8,170 acres to date. Started in 1992 by then Governor Roy Roemer and Department of Natural Resources Ken Salazar, the two started an initiative that would eventually become GOCO. Lottery dollars preserving public spaces and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Recently the two founders gathered to celebrate this great gift to all Coloradans.

Learn More About GOCO



Upcoming Manitou Incline Closures



No reservations will be available for the Manitou Incline on the following dates: September 17 from 6 – 9 a.m. and ALL DAY on September 18 and October 29 due to parking constraints and special events.


Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center:

What a Summer!


The Garden of the Gods Visitor Center had a busy summer season! From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Visitor Center saw tens of thousands of visitors and hosted large events, like TOSC’s Starlight Spectacular. Read more about this past summer’s happenings and what to look forward to this fall.


Read the Article


2022 Get Out Get Healthy: Great Scavenger Hunt

Sept 17, 9:00 – 11:00 AM


TOSC and Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs have teamed up to produce this event with a goal of encouraging families to get out and explore John Venezia Park.

The Community Scavenger Hunt is a family-friendly event open and free to the public. Participants will be given the choice of several scavenger hunt routes, ranging in distance, throughout the park. All routes and clues are family friendly!

For the scavenger hunt, registered participants will receive a bag to hep carry items during the scavenger hunt and are invited to join us in the House Pavilion, where we will be joined by several of our community partners, including:

* Experts from Children’s Hospital Colorado

* Toasty the Rocky Mountain Vibes Mascot

* Ziggy the Switchbacks Mascot

* Pikes Peak Library District

* Various outdoor and park partners

Registration is recommended. All registered participants will be guaranteed a bag, water and snacks! All other participants will receive items while supplies last. The last day to register is Wednesday, Sept. 14th


Registration is Encouraged

Facebook Event Page

TOPS Story Map

As TOPS celebrates its 25th year of preserving parks, trails and open spaces, TOSC has developed a unique “story map” that highlights three of the 70+ acquisitions facilitated by the TOPS program. The stories include narratives of three community members who were instrumental in helping to acquire and improve these properties for current and future generations of Colorado Springs residents. Special thanks to Story Map Producer/Writer Michael Rigney and Videographer/Editor T.J. Walker.

We are asking you to suggest other TOPS Success Stories for us to highlight. A TOPS Trail, Park or Open Space that has a compelling story behind its acquisition and construction. Perhaps you know the community hero that made it happen! Send an email to with your suggestions.

Thanks to all of you who have shared our Story Map with others. It’s already been seen 900+ times!


View the Story Map



Ute Valley Park: Volunteer Work Day

Wed. Sep 7th, 5:30 – 7:30 PM



Come join the Friends of Ute Valley on our Wednesday night volunteer work session! We will be performing trail closure and restoration tasks along Rattlesnake Ridge. Please wear pants and closed-toe shoes, bring work gloves, eye protection, sunscreen, water, and snacks.

Meet up location is at the Vindicator Trailhead – 1645 Vindicator Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80919 You must register to participate in this event.





Philosophy in the City: Colorado Blackpackers

Fri. Sep 9th, 5:30-7:00 PM @ UCCS Downtown


Join UCCS alumni Patricia Cameron for a discussion about the importance of economic equity in outdoor recreation. She is the founder and Executive Director of Blackpackers, a Colorado Springs nonprofit which seeks to meet those at the intersection of underrepresentation and economic vulnerability and bring them into outdoor recreation and outdoor industry careers. This event is on Friday, September 9th, from 5:30-7pm at UCCS Downtown. The event is free and open to all – light food and drink will be served! Part of the Philosophy in the City event series.


Please contact Jen Kling ( or Chase Culver ( for more information.

Fountain Creek Nature Center: Fall Bird Count

Saturday. Sep 10th, 7:30 – 10:00 AM


Join the annual tradition and help record the number of bird species and populations found in Fountain Creek Regional Park during fall migration.

$5 donation per person


Register and Facebook Event

Horsethief Trail Crew

Sat. Sep 10th, 8:00 – 5:00 PM


Join Colorado Mountain Club and Friends of the Peak to continue work on the trail reroute, where an encroachment onto private property was discovered. The crew will focus on smoothing the tread, creating a better critical edge, and cutting in a backslope. Please bring gloves, water, snacks, lunch, sunscreen, and hat. The work area is about a half-mile and 500′ elevation from the trailhead. Carpool from Trails End Taproom, 3103 W Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs, at 7:15 AM or meet at the Trailhead by 8:00 AM.


Signup at


Palmer Park Work Day 

Sat. Sept 10, 8:30 – 1:00 PM

The Guardians of Palmer Park are teaming up with The Mission Continues to honor the victims of 9/11/2001. You are invited to be a part of the effort! Please sign up for one of the following work crews:

Group 1 Trash Pickup 

Group 2 Poop Patrol @ Yucca/Mesa Trails

Group 3 Trail Maintenance


All working groups will meet at the Maizeland Parking Lot near the storage container next to the Baseball field. Crews will assemble there and be dispensed to the actual work sites. Please bring work gloves and water, the Guardians of Palmer Park will provide tools. See you Saturday!

Pikes Peak Apex: 4 Day Mountain Bike Challenge

September 22nd-25th


Challenging 4 day course from Palmer Park to Canon City. Choose to race one day, two days, or all four days! The event features exhilarating, exceptionally crafted routes through dirt roads, jeep trails and the amazing alpine singletrack that is quintessential Pikes Peak. The terrain will be challenging, but not overly technical. This Rocky Mountain trail experience through the aspens in Colorado’s backcountry will draw not only professional riders, but also amateur cyclists looking for a bucket list endurance experience.


Learn More



Pikes Peak Bigfoot benefit hike

Sat. Sept 24, 8:30 – 2:30 PM



Are you ready to find Bigfoot? This is a laidback hunt, and being on the trail at 8:30 will not guarantee you seeing him. Show up when you can and you’ll still have the same chance as everyone else. The hunt would take place along part of the Ring the Peak trail, more specifically Mt Esther/Crowe Gulch Trail. Proceeds benefit Friends of the Peak, a volunteer group that works to preserve the many miles of trails on Pikes Peak.


Learn More


The Cheyenne Mountain Run

Sat. Oct 8th, 8:30 – 2:30 PM


Save the date for this 25k (to the top of Cheyenne Mountain), 10k and 5k that benefits the trails and events in Cheyenne Mountain State Park.  TOSC is a Dixon Level sponsor for this incredible event and we urge all trail lovers to participate!   Participate in the Duo State Park Series,  including the Dam Run at Castlewood Canyon State Park and the Cheyenne Mountain Run, to save money on race registration while supporting two great parks!


Learn More

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