sTARLIGHT sPECTACULAR rEGISTRATION oPENS, TOSC MEMBER HIKE
Registration for the 2023 Starlight Spectacular is OPEN!
Join in the fun of this one-of-a-kind annual event benefitting the Trails and Open Space Coalition on Saturday, August 5th.
Runners and walkers will lead off the evening with a loop through Garden of the Gods followed by cyclists with an expanded route.
This year’s theme is SPACE FANTASY.
For more information, check out our website to register now and take advantage of early bird discount pricing!
Would you like to volunteer at the event? Fill out this form and be a part of the incredible team that makes this fantastic evening possible!
PARK AND TRAIL News
Park Score: COS jumps from 58 in 2022 to 51 in 2023!
Each year the Trust for Public land compares parks in the 100 largest U.S. cities.
Back in 2013 COS ranked 14th and Denver ranked 17th.
The following year we dropped to 23rd, Denver was 7th, and Aurora 10th. Since then we’ve continued to drop in the rankings as other cities invest more dollars in their park systems, add amenities and parks. This year Colorado Springs ranked well in overall equity and access, but not as well in per capita park spending and amenities such as basketball hoops, Senior and Recreation Centers and bathrooms. (In case you are curious, Washington D.C., St Paul, MN., and Minneapolis MN. ranked 1st ,2nd, and 3rd ) To learn more: www.tpl.org/parkscore
30th Street Corridor is Now Open!
This past Friday, it was with great fanfare and applause that Mayor John Suthers presided over the ribbon-cutting for the 30th Street Corridor Project. After a year long closure and a multi-year development/design process, we now have improved safety and connectivity along this vital corridor. The roadway improvements will allow for better traffic flow into and out of Garden of the Gods Park and provide enhanced emergency vehicle and evacuation capacity. Funding for the design came from the City’s Public Works Capital Design budget while the construction was paid for primarily by a Federal Surface Transportation Block Grant Program grant.
The improvements to the Foothills Trail and increased non-motorized access that this project included are a significant win. Trail users no longer need to cross Gateway Road to continue on their journey courtesy of the new underpass. Additionally, for bicyclists using the widened shoulders on 30th Street, they may elect to use the roundabout or choose to navigate into the Garden or around on the off-street path system constructed around the outer edge. And we believe that everyone will appreciate the new Garden of the Gods plaza where our tourists can capture their Kodak moments at the iconic sign without causing major traffic interruptions.
While the roadway and trail are open, there will be continued activity on additional project elements, so please be aware if using this corridor during the Summer. Anticipated final completion of the work is expected in August.
The Good, Bad and the Muddy
The Good: It is wildflower season! The epic spring moisture the region has gotten has created an unforgettable wildflower season. In the Garden of the Gods Park, Indian Hemp is blooming strong in the underbrush of gamble oak and the open meadows have a colorful array of flowers ranging from spiderwort to Indian paintbrush. Want to checkout blooms in the Garden? The Gateway Trail and the cement trails of the Central Garden area will give you plenty to appreciate. Other parks reporting good wildflower blooms are Cheyenne Mountain SP, Mueller SP, Clear Spring Ranch OS and Stratton OS.
The Bad: Trailhead burglaries come in waves. The latest string of break-ins were reported by the Friends of Monument Preserve in the parking areas near Monument Rock. No matter which park you visit, always take steps to protect your property. Here are some tips from REI on trailhead parking lot safety.
The Muddy: The frequent rain showers have created a messy situation on some area trails. A portion of the Santa Fe Trail through AFA is closed at the low water crossing due to high water/erosion. In Bluestem Prairie OS, the gulley crossing on the loop suffered erosion damage and fallen trees are reported on sections of the Ring the Peak Trail near Raspberry Mountain. Barr Trail above 11,000 feet continues to deal with impacts from deep snow. Depending on where localized thunderstorms are hitting, the soft surface trails in Garden of the Gods Park, Red Rock Canyon and Palmer Park have been very muddy. After storms hit, it is best to give trails a day or two to dry out. Stick to paved urban trails when there is a threat of mud. Current trail conditions can be found on COS Trail Conditions on Instagram.
BLM Seeks Public Input on Campsite Maintenance Plan
The Royal Gorge Field Office is accepting public comment on a business plan designed to address maintenance costs associated with a rapidly increasing use of facilities operated and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. The business plan proposes a new fee structure for the Bank, Sand Gulch, and Turtle Rock campgrounds. It also sets the structure for any future fees that may be implemented on BLM-managed lands within the Royal Gorge Field Office, including those recently identified in Chaffee County.
“We have seen record growth in the public’s use of these camp sites, which necessitates an increase in the resources to maintain them,” said Royal Gorge Field Office Manager, Keith Berger. “We truly have something special, and we take the long-term management of these areas seriously.”
For these and future sites designated for fees, the charge will be $20 per night for a basic campground, $10 per night for a primitive campground, and $10 per night for overflow camping.
Comments on the plan should be submitted via email to Kalem Lenard, Royal Gorge Field Office Assistant Field Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to BLM Recreation Office, 3028 E. Main Street, Cañon City, CO 81212.
Pikes Peak Ranger District – Fuels Reduction Project
Beginning now through June 19th fuels reduction (mastication) will take place near Monument Preserve in Upper Monument Creek on two sites.
The goal is to create defensible space along Mt. Herman Rd. and along the Forest Service Boundary. The public is asked to avoid those areas for safety reasons.
If you have ever enjoyed the Garden of the Gods you know what a special place it is. To keep it running and helping millions of annual visitors have the same experience requires the combined efforts of the city, the Garden of the Gods Foundation and Visitor Center, and volunteers.
If you would like to help contribute to that effort as a volunteer, please contact Bret Tennis, Park Operations Administrator at bret.tennis@coloradosprings.
New volunteers are trained and typically start with 3 hour shifts one day a week at the Information Desk in the Visitor Center. Scheduling can be flexible. Other opportunities include leading guided nature walks and helping with school programs in the spring and fall. Your uniform shirt will be provided by Friends of the Garden of the Gods. Hank Scarangella, is a volunteer there and would be happy to speak with you about this opportunity. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (719) 440-1525.
Gardening is Good for YOU!
Is your Green Thumb twitching with all this rain?
The City’s Sustainability Department has created a website and story map featuring community gardens in our region. Check them out here: https://coloradosprings.gov/
Blodgett Open Space – Share Your Thoughts
Please join the community as they engage in a public planning process to imagine the future of Blodgett Open Space.
This planning process seeks to develop a set of recommendations that reflects the vision of the community while simultaneously considering new opportunities for outdoor recreation, access, safety, watershed protection, restoration, conservation, and trail connectivity.
Read the Master Plan Here https://coloradosprings.gov/
Fill our their online survey here. – responses are accepted through June 15th.
Friends Groups Need You
What is a Friend Group? A Friends Group is a community-based organization run by volunteers that support and advocate for particular parks and trails. The work these groups do varies from park to park with some focusing on fundraising while others spend time doing maintenance projects or assisting with education programs. No matter the focus, these volunteer groups work hand-in-hand with their land managers to make their parks better places for the larger community to enjoy. In the Pikes Peak region, there are over 20 Friends Groups operating.
How Can You Help?
- The Friends of the Equestrian Skills Course have an urgent need for board members. Contact them for more information. friendsequestrianskillscourse@
- The Friends of Cheyenne Canon have an immediate need for more active board members. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Across the region, there is a need for volunteers that can serve as treasurers. If you have some applicable experience and desire to volunteer on a board, please email TOSC Program Coordinator, Aaron Rogers, for more information at email@example.com.
- Friends Groups are also reporting a need for volunteers that have experience with social media, public outreach, fundraising/development, certified crew leaders and volunteers for workdays.
- Are you on social media? Help Friends Groups increase their content’s reach by liking, commenting and sharing posts. The algorithms different social media platforms use value these types of engagements.
TOSC Member Hike
Sat., June 17th
Our friend Hiking Bob is leading a TOSC Member Hike Saturday, June 17th at 8 AM
We’ll be hiking the Sweetwater Canyon Trails, some of the newest trails in the COS parks system.
This is a moderate to strenuous hike of between 4 to 6 miles.
Not sure your membership is current? Contact Sheridan at sheridan@trailsandopenspaces.
Space is Limited. For more information and to sign up, click here.
Friends of Monument Valley Park: Cleanup
Sat., June 10th at 9:00 am–12 Noon
Stay for One Hour or Three! Whatever Time You Can Spare Will Make a Difference! The focus will be on cleaning up sections of the park south of Uintah Street.
Bring work gloves, water, and sunscreen. Trash bags and tools provided.
FREE FMVP T-SHIRT FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS
Meeting Place: Meet at the Pickleball Parking Lot of Monument Valley Park
(Just west of the Mesa Road Bridge, near 222 Mesa Road)
Wildflower Photography Workshop
9AM – 11AM
One of our favorite partners – Hiking Bob – is offering a wildflower photography workshop June 10th at Garden of the Gods Park. Bob’s photographs appear in the COS Parks Dept annual calendar.
Bob will start in the Red Rocks Room with tips and tricks to photography out in the Garden. Then participants will hike with Bob out into the park.
Whether you shoot your pictures with a cell phone or with an actual camera, there’s always room for improvement. For more information, and to sign up, click here.
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado:
Pride Month Project-Restoration @ Austin Bluffs
Sat., June 10th, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
It is time for VOC’s annual Pride Project! VOC wants to take this opportunity to celebrate the LGBTQIA community with an awesome stewardship event followed by a happy hour celebration. This project offers a variety of stewardship opportunities. There is a mix of ecological restoration, closing unsanctioned social trails, and constructing some new trail. Austin Bluffs is a beautiful site located near the heart of Colorado Springs. No matter your skill level or experience, this is an awesome opportunity to build community around the shared values of Pride and environmental stewardship.
Pikes Peak Trail CATS
Saturday, June 10, 2023
Mustang Way – Manitou Springs
Help build a brand new trail from the High School to the Intemann Trail. This is an all volunteer project building a multi-use, sustainable trail (1130 feet, average 8% grade, and 100 feet rock work.*)
El Paso County Parks: Kite Festival
Sat., June 17th at 10:00am
El Paso County Parks announces the 2023 El Paso County Kite Festival to be held at Falcon Regional Park on Saturday, June 17 at 10:00 a.m.
All are invited to Falcon Regional Park on June 17th to celebrate mother nature’s gift of wind and help us fill the sky with color! Bring your friends and family to fly a kite, make a kite, compete in contests, create a wind propelled craft project and much more! This is a free event for everyone and is open to people of all ages.