News Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Raccoons, Bears, and Friends Groups. Oh, My!

Illegal Camp Clean-ups


When COS police Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) comes upon an illegal camp to be removed, they contact Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful to help with the clean-up. Their mission is to elevate the spirit and improve lives through the care and beautification of Colorado Springs. KCSB leads camp clean ups 3-4 times each week. With more funding, Executive Director Dee Cunningham says they could accomplish more cleanups.


COS pays KCSB $45,000 per year for services. With grants, donations and volunteer support Dee is able to provide $2.5 million in services for the city and county.


KCSB is always looking for individual or groups of volunteers.


For more information:


High Chaparral Open Space: Eastside Paradise


A silver lining to the damaging thunderstorms our community has recently endured is the explosion of wildflowers in the region’s open spaces. One of the better kept secrets for wildflower viewing is in High Chaparral Open Space (trailhead parking is located off Stetson Hills Blvd. between Austin Bluffs and Powers). 


Thousands of people drive by this northeastern Colorado Springs open space, that borders Powers on the open space’s eastern boundary, without knowing that 54 acres and nearly two miles of loop trails are sitting in plain sight. 

According to the community science app, iNaturalist, over 50 different types of wildflowers and trees can be found in this OS. Many of those wildflowers are in bloom or will be blooming soon. If birding is your favorite outdoor hobby, birders have logged 54 different types of birds this year in this E-Bird hotspot. The abundance of wildflower seeds later this summer will be a critical food source for even more birds as they prepare for migration and winter. When the sun is out, visit this eastside paradise for a pleasant saunter to appreciate all the colors in Mother Nature’s color palette.


More Information

Unattended Food in a Campsite – Bad Idea

Unattended food in a campsite is a bad idea. Now in the Pike National Forest, it is against the rules and you could be fined.

Leaving unsecured food attracts wildlife, especially bears. This includes any refuse from the preparation, consumption, and cleanup of such items, or other bear attractants (such as bird feeders, cooking equipment, personal care products, and coolers), unless it is:

A. Stored inside a hard-sided vehicle or camper.

B. Stored inside a securable container or vehicle constructed of a solid, non-pliable material, without any cracks, openings, lids, hinges or open windows that would allow a bear to gain entry.

C. Suspended at least ten feet above the ground and four feet from any tree, post or other vertical support.

D. Being eaten, prepared for eating, or transported in a motor vehicle.

Doing the right thing just might save a bear’s life!

More Tips on Camping Responsibility

Palmer Loop Trail – Finally Open!


Signs have been installed encouraging people not to linger in the area where the rockslide occurred. This favorite regional trail was closed for more than a year after a huge rock released, damaging a bridge. The US Forest Service assessed the risk and concluded adding signage would increase safety. Enjoy, but keep moving through the affected area.


Learn More About the Palmer Loop/Section 16



E-Bike Rebates – Available Statewide in August


The Colorado Energy office will be offering vouchers to qualifying residents later this summer.


The e-bike rebate will not be retroactive to previously purchased e-bikes. Interested individuals will need to apply for the program prior to purchasing an e-bike. To ensure all eligible Coloradans have an opportunity to apply for an e-bike rebate, CEO will open applications for a period of one week each month, then randomly select individuals to receive the rebate after each application round closes. Selected applicants will receive a rebate voucher that they can redeem at a participating retailer for a discount at the time of e-bike purchase. 


Click here for more information and to sign up for updates

Are Raccoons Keeping You up at Night?


Want to keep those mischievous raccoons in our urban environment from causing too much trouble? Here are some handy tips to reduce conflicts and issues! 


-Make sure your trash cans are raccoon-proof with snug lids or store them away until pickup day. 


-Don’t leave tasty treats like pet food or bird feeders out at night—they’re like irresistible invitations for those masked bandits! 


-Seal up any potential entry points to your home, so raccoons don’t turn your attic into their cozy den. 


-Keep things tidy by trimming branches and clearing away clutter that could become a raccoon hideout. 


And if you really want to give those rascals a run for their money, try installing motion-activated lights or sprinklers. With these tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be living in harmony with your furry neighbors in no time!


For more information about how to live alongside the many species of wildlife that call the Pikes Peak region home, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife resource page HERE

A huge shout out to our friends at Alpine Buick GMC South.


They’ve chosen us as their non-profit of the month. Any car purchased or repaired in June at their Motor City facility, a portion of the proceeds will come to TOSC! Why us?


“Alpine Buick GMC South is pleased to have chosen Trails and Open Spaces for our June – Alpine Cares sponsorship/donations. Our company truly cares about the care and education in maintaining the health, and upkeep of our trails and open spaces now and for future generations.”


We thank the employees and customers of Alpine Buick GMC South. We could not do what we do without partners like you!

Is Blodgett Open Space a Favorite?


The City of Colorado Springs wants to include your ideas into the Blodgett Open Space Master Plan. The project website has 3 unique surveys. Thank you to the many that have completed the general survey and the photo dot preference survey. Please take a look at the map survey and share your preferences.


Remember to sign up at the project website to stay informed and receive notices for upcoming Blodgett Open Space planning meetings. 


A Short Trail to Buffalo Roost

From Local Trail Historian – Eric Swab


There is a short trail that connects the Gold Camp Road (GCR) with Buffalo Canyon trail 624. The trail first appears on the 1913 edition of Manly Ormes map, Mountain Trails of the Pikes Peak Region, but it is likely older than that. The GCR end of the trail is near Fairview where early 20th Century trekkers could disembark from the Short Line Railroad for a hike to St. Marys Falls in Buffalo Canyon. The trail was also used by the YMCA Boys Group as a shortcut to their cabin at the Buffalo Creek end to the trail. This cabin was built in the early 1890s by a man named McBride, but given to the YMCA five years later. The “Y” called it “Buffalo Roost”, and used it as a retreat.


(Learn more about the trail, cabin and one of the early heroes in the local YMCA organization here.)

TOSC Member Hike: Sweetwater Canyon

Sat., June 17th starting at 8:00 AM


Hiking Bob leads great hikes. This is one you won’t want to miss! Check out some of the city’s newest trails in Sweetwater Canyon, in North Cheyenne Canon Park. The forest is green and wildflowers are blooming!


This is a moderate to strenuous hike of between 4 to 6 miles.


Not sure your membership is current? Contact Sheridan at and find out!


Space is Limited. For more information and to sign up, click here.

Walk with a Doc at Panorama Park!

Saturday, June 17th, 8:30-9:30 AM


Come out this Saturday to Panorama Park as we join our partners with RISE|Southeast as they host the first Walk with a Doc in this region of the city. This free and open to the public event is a fabulous way to see and experience the newest park in Colorado Springs and meet some new friends while you do. We’ll learn a little about better health, and put it into practice one step at a time as we do a walking tour of this fabulous new community amenity! 


This is part of the RISE|Southeast’s Walking Group effort and also supports our Get Out & Get Healthy initiative. Look for more opportunities to get out on the Summer Stroll series in future Trail Talk newsletters.


Location: Panorama Park

4550 Fenton Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80916

Registration OPEN: Starlight Spectacular

Sat., August 5th


Register today for this this one-of-a-kind annual event benefitting the Trails and Open Space Coalition on the night of Saturday, August 5th. Experience the Garden of the Gods Park on a fun run/walk through a 5k course around Juniper Loop at twilight. Later in the night, there will be a bike ride on a new extended route that will go through the Garden of the Gods and loop back through historic neighborhoods.


Have you ever seen hundreds of people and bikes with lights glowing at night? Wear costumes and decorating bikes with lights is a Starlight tradition that is over a quarter century old. This year’s theme is SPACE FANTASY. Star Wars? Space Balls? Mars Attacks? Star Trek? NASA? The ideas for costume ideas and decorations for bikes are limitless with this year’s theme.


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!

Help Friends Groups this Weekend


The summer solstice is almost upon us, and our area Friends Groups are hitting full stride with their workdays. There are three workdays coming up this weekend and these Friends Groups could use your passion and expertise to get critical work done. 


Black Forest Trails Association: Section 16 Clean Up– Saturday, June 17th 8am to 11am. 

More Information:


Friends of the Peak: Barr Trail Work Day– Sunday, June 18th

Signup here for more info: 


Friends of Ute Pass Trails: Catamount Trail re-route project near Garden of Eden – Saturday June 17th, 8am 

Advance registration required by E-mail to or by calling Rocco Blasi 719-331-3688


Can’t make it to a workday this weekend? You can support these Friends Groups (and all the other groups in our region) by liking, commenting and sharing their social media posts to show off their great work. If you attend the workdays, be sure to take pictures/videos and share your experiences on social media!


Find more Friends Group Workdays on the TOSC Open Space Volunteer Calendar

Community Events

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.


More Information

Summer Tree Walk

Saturday, June 24 at 10:00 am


Led by Becky Wegner, Certified Arborist with SavATree


Walk begins at 10:00 am and will last 1 1/2 to 2 hours


Meet at the Pickleball Parking lot of Monument Valley Park

(Just west of the Mesa Road Bridge, near 222 Mesa Road)


Learn about the variety of trees in the southern half of the park, including the rare lacebark pine in

MVP’s Pinetum!


Free and Open to Everyone!


Please RSVP at


Bring: Water, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, pen & paper, and camera, if you like.


NO PETS please!

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