Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District new Executive Director
We at TOSC would like to congratulate Allison Plute Schuch for being selected as the new Executive Director of the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District! Allison had been serving as the Interim Director previously, and this is a well-deserved professional milestone in her environmental education and advocacy career. Many of us know Allison from her previous work at Colorado Springs Utilities, and for many years at the helm of our regional Creek Week Cleanup effort, the largest watershed-wide cleanup in the state of Colorado. We wish Allison well in this new position and have no doubt she will be guiding the District into a future with enhanced water quality, greater collaboration on watershed projects, and increased awareness for the critical role that the Fountain Creek watershed plays for our region.
PARK AND TRAIL News
Talon-Sundance Loop in CMSP
Silence. That is one of the many highlights of the Talon/Sundance loop in Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Not counting the sounds of distant cars on Highway 115 and scattered commercial airliners jetting across the sky, all you can hear are dispersed pockets of song birds, mule deer foraging and wind dancing in trees. This time of year, the sun hangs low on the southern horizon leading to pockets of snow and ice in the shady north facing parts of the trail.
Thankfully, it has been a mild winter and tricky sections of trail are at a minimum until more snow falls. This three-mile route is not flat and it is not difficult either. There are just enough rolling hills to make everyone feel like they have earned the magnificent views of Cheyenne Mountain that can only be enjoyed from the southern section of the park. To try out this hike, park in the Limekiln Parking Lot. Hike for about 1.25 miles until the second Talon/Sundance intersection. Take the western portion of the Sundance Trail to the north and follow the trail until it hits the Zook Loop. From that point, it is easy to connect with the parking lot. If you want to double the length of this adventure, consider doing the full Talon Trail.
Click Here to learn more about this route.
Click Here to Learn More about Cheyenne Mountain State Park.
Get To Know our Friends – Black Forest Trails Assn
BFTA is one of the oldest friends groups in the region. The group supports trail projects in northern El Paso County. Black Forest Section 16, the Pineries, Black Forest Regional Park and Fox Run Regional Park
all receive support from BFTA. Recently we chatted with members of their Board to learn of their priorities for 2023. President Rich Mock is seeking to recruit more volunteers. They are committed to seeing that Section 16 remains a county open space and have some trail projects on their list of “things to do.” If you’d like to learn more about BFTA and how you can make a difference: here.
Over the past few weeks, there has been an uptick in vandalism in parks across El Paso County. Recently there was graffiti on the exterior of the bathroom at Palmer Lake (that was already cleaned up by Focus on the Forest-Tri Lakes) and widespread graffiti in Memorial Park (Colorado Springs). If graffiti or vandalism is spotted in Colorado Springs, it is best to use the GoCOS! app to make a detailed report. If you spot vandals in action, please call the CSPD non-emergency number at 719-444-7000 or the El Paso County Sheriff’s non-emergency number 719-390-5555.
TOSC & Fossil Craft Beer Company Winter Warmer Release!
Team TOSC and Fossil Craft Beer Company brewed an amazing collaboration beer and you have to try it out! Dig out your ugliest Christmas Sweater and come out to Fossil on Thursday, December 8th from 4:00-8:00pm for the release of our Winter Warmer! A portion of the proceeds from this beer will be donated to TOSC. On Thursday night, TOSC staff will be Fossil to talk to you about what projects are going on and how you can help out!
When: Thursday, December 8th @6:00pm
For more details check out the Facebook Event.
Homestead Ranch Park.
Thanks to those of you who participated in the park planning process. EPC Board of County Commissioners approved the plan and 2023 projects to improve the park have already been identified. Visitors will initially see improvements to trails, the parking lot and improved signage. $3.5 million
dollars in improvements were identified.
Glad You Asked: Anything New with Waldo Canyon?
Because this forest service property was such a beloved area for recreation, it’s not surprising to get that question. Newcomers may not know its history. One of the region’s favorite trails was in Waldo Canyon. Damaged during the Waldo Canyon fire, the trail was closed and has not been reopened. Nor is it easily accessible as the trailhead along highway 24 was closed at that time. A public planning process made it clear – people want access to Waldo Canyon. The first challenge was establishing a new trailhead. COS purchased former quarry property with TOPS dollars for a future trailhead. Located east of the canyon, the Black Canyon quarry property would provide adequate parking. It requires state ordered improvements now underway. Once completed, a planning process for Black Canyon can begin and eventually a trailhead will be created to accommodate Waldo Canyon users.
Remembering Lee Milner
Open Space Advocate Lee Milner was a long-time member of the Trails and Open Space Coalition and one of the region’s most ardent open space advocates. A champion of the TOPS program, he served on the TOPS Working Committee and helped secure Corral Bluffs, Red Rock, Blodgett, Union Meadows and a number of important open space acquisitions. Recently he assisted with acquisition of property for Colorado’s newest State Park – Fishers Peak. Lee was deservedly awarded a Spirit of the Springs award. His passion and activism will be missed.
Colorado Springs Storm Drain Art Project Story Map
Have you seen the artwork adorning a storm drain next to a roadway, at the edge of a parking lot, or along an urban trail and wondered just what that was all about? Or wondered what the heck “Only Rain Down the Drain” is referring to? Well, check out this very cool new Colorado Springs Storm Drain Art Project Story Map that was created to help educate and inform all who see these beautiful art installations that storm drains throughout the city flow directly into one of our major creekways, untreated. This artsy and engaging initiative has been developed by Jerry Cordova, Stormwater Specialist for the City of Colorado Springs Stormwater Enterprise (and current TOSC board member!). We have Jerry to thank for helping to elevate the critical nature of our stormwater system and the part we can all play in safeguarding it now and well into the future. Next time you see Jerry, ask him about Complete Creeks!
Outdoors with Hiking Bob
Bob chats with Susan Davies, the Executive Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), a participating agency in the 2022 Pikes Peak Give! campaign. They talk about what TOSC does to support outdoor recreation and other non-profit groups in the Pikes Peak region, what the biggest issues are concerning outdoor recreation, and why you should donate to TOSC during the campaign. Listen to the full episode here.
Paws N Hooves Colorado: Wine, BBQ and Dessert Pairings
Sat. Dec 10, 5:30pm at Black Forest Community Club
Paws N Hooves Colorado, great partners of TOSC and the great outdoors, are hosting a Wine, BBQ and Desserts Tasting at the Black Forest Community Club. Proceeds from this fundraiser and silent auction will benefit their mission of providing care, training and rehabilitation for at-risk dogs with the goal of making these animals adoptable to a forever home.
Learn More about Paws and Hooves Colorado
THURSDAY DECEMBER 8TH!
It will still be at 6pm, hosted by Storybook Brewing and featuring Emily Mooney, PhD with a discussion on a species of hops native to Colorado! Come learn more while enjoying $1 off pints!
Please RSVP to email@example.com
CMSP Christmas Tree Sale
Dec. 10th/11th, 10:00am-3:00pm
The Friends of Cheyenne Mountain State Park are hosting a Christmas Tree sale as a fundraiser for the park. The freshly cut trees came from wildfire mitigation in the park and will be available for donation over select weekends in December. Instead of seeing the wood chipper, these trees will have loving homes for this holiday season.