Storms, Splashing Around, and Starlight Spectacular
More Storms Impact Local Trails
Storms on June 22/23 pounded parks and trails in Fountain and Black Forest. The flash flooding around Fountain added to the long list of damage that had already been sustained from flooding experienced earlier in the month. Sections of the Fountain Creek Regional Trail remain closed and the Fountain Creek Nature Center is also temporarily closed due to water damage. In northern El Paso County, a hailstorm stalled over Black Forest causing trail damage in Black Forest Section 16 and the Palmer Divide/Woodlake Trail. The main loop in the Pineries Open Space remains closed. Recently the Santa Fe Trail was closed at the low water crossing on the grounds of the AFA. That section of trail has reopened. Across the region, use caution when recreating and honor trail closures and barricades.
*Photo Courtsey of Black Forest Trails Association Facebook
Good News from Recent Storms
There is good news to focus on after the storms our region has recently experienced.
Area Friends Groups completed projects that helped keep trails open and limit erosion. The Friends of Ute Valley Park completed a series of check dams this year that kept water from seriously impacting the new regional trail through the park. The Guardians of Palmer Park also created rock dams in eroded areas that successfully captured sediment and slowed down water flow down steep hill sides.
Birgit Landin, Senior Community Education Specialist with Colorado Springs Utilities and TOSC Board Director, is focused on the lower water consumption. “Our customers used a lot less water for their landscapes during May and June (3 million gallons less per day!), meaning their utility bills were lower and we preserved our water stored in our reservoirs. We currently have 2.9 years of water in storage to get us through the dry times; however, continuing to conserve water is essential for a sustainable future and following the Water Wise rules is required no matter what the weather is doing. It’s a great time to convert thirsty lawns to more efficient landscapes by planting water-wise and native plants.”
Maybe the most significant good news is that as of June 22nd, Colorado is drought free. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, only 3% of Colorado was experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions. In June of 2022, 81% of Colorado (including most of El Paso County) was experiencing at least moderate drought conditions. The record rainfall has led to one of the best wildflower seasons in recent memory across the state.
TOSC Behind the Scenes: When Storms Strike
When severe weather hits local trails, TOSC steps into action. In the initial period of time after a storm hits, TOSC’s biggest goal is to relay updates on trail conditions and closures to keep users safe. To gather information, we monitor social media, visit impacted sites, reach out to land managers and ask Friends Groups for updates. When we find significant impacts, we post them to TOSC’s Facebook page and list them on our weekly “Trail Talk.” When there is significant damage that closes trails or parks, we work with land managers to relay information and provide repair timelines. When volunteers are needed to restore trails, we list them on our Open Space Volunteer Calendar and work with Friends Groups and Land Managers to recruit help. When temporary closures grow into long term closures, TOSC uses advocacy and seeks solutions in order to reopen beloved trails.
PARK AND TRAIL News
Make a Splash!
As the temperature rises, one of the best ways for families to cool off is by visiting one of the local splash grounds. Between Colorado Springs and Fountain, there are unique splash pads and fountains you can visit for free until September. Here is a list of places to visit this summer:
- Uncle Wilber Fountain @ Acacia Park (Recently reopened after being impacted by a lightning strike)
- Julie Penrose Fountain @ America the Beautiful Park
- Deerfield Hills Spray Ground @ Deerfield Hills Community Center
- The Water Hole @ John Venezia Park
- Small Fountains @ Panorama Park
- City of Fountain Splash Pad
- Aga Park Splash Pad (After being closed for all of 2022, Aga is now open in 2023)
Ribbon Cutting at Panorama Park
TOSC was invited to attend the recent ribbon cutting ceremony for the beautiful new community-inspired sculpture installed at Panorama Park. The City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services department hosted the event where artist Joshua Wiener (from Boulder) was able to speak about the wonderfully collaborative process he used to construct this unique piece. By engaging diverse voices from throughout Southeast Colorado Springs, he used that input and included many of the key concepts and ideas so that his sculpture truly represents the spirit of the neighborhood and people who make up this community. Mayor Yemi, City Councilmembers Avila, Henjum and Leinweber along with County Commissioner Gonzalez were in attendance along with many from our local arts community. This project was funded in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bee Vradenburg Foundation. If you’ve not had the chance to visit Panorama Park, this is yet another reason to do so. The park is rich in amenities and offers something to enjoy for people of all ages and abilities.
Rattlesnake Safety Reminder
Recently, a 11 year old child survived a rattlesnake bite near Golden, CO while out mountain biking. Around the Pikes Peak region, rattlesnakes have been displaced by recent floods and have become more active in areas they are not normally seen.
We Love Our Parks!
COS City Council declared July as National Park and Recreation month. The resolution called out the physical and mental health benefits parks provide plus boosting our local economy.
Here are some ways to celebrate!
- July 6th Zumba in Panorama Park (5pm-8pm)
- July 15th Fun Walk in Memorial Park (9am-12pm)
- July 28th Music in Pinon Valley Park (5pm-8pm)
There will also be online contests plus a Kid’s Activity book
More Information to Come! Keep checking their website for more information.
Park to Park: Summer Family Stroll
Save the Date: July 15th, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
“Get Out and Get Healthy” with the Trails and Open Space Coalition and Children’s Hospital Colorado!
Come along on a guided family-friendly 2-mile stroll from Mid Shooks Run Park to Patty Jewett Junction along the Shooks Run Trail. Children will play and make new friends at three playgrounds and parents will have the opportunity to chat with Children’s Hospital Colorado staff and TOSC staff.
Is There Anything as Wonderful as a Garden?
With all the rain lately, our Sustainacenter garden is flourishing. Thanks to the hard work of TOSC’s own Mike Rigney, each plant has a label with photo ID, the name, and a QR code which links to more information.
The garden has a lovely mix of native plants and is watered by rainwater collected in the barrel out front. The groups housed in the Sustainacenter pitch in to help maintain and care for this lovely addition to the property.
Feel free to come by and take a look if you are in the area. We are located at 702 and 704 East Boulder Street.
Starlight Spectacular: Early Bird Tickets End Soon!
Join us August 5th, 2023
This year’s Starlight Spectacular will be the 27th running of the event! This event has evolved over time with changes to the course and shifts to the start time. One thing to stay consistent through all the years is the magical memories of being outdoors under the stars with hundreds of fellow lovers of the great outdoors. What is your favorite Starlight Spectacular memory?
“In 2023, we loved seeing the sea of flashing lights on bikes as they approached the starting line. The costumes were amazing and the atmosphere electric.” –Brittany H. on Facebook
“Nothing beats having midnight pancakes with my family and friends at the Visitor Center.” –Noah
“The Garden of the Gods at night is unforgettable. There is something special about seeing the moonlit rocks and hearing the distant sounds of other riders enjoying the night.” – Mike S. on Facebook
We are pleased to welcome back our partner PikeRide to the 2023 Starlight Spectacular! Team
PikeRide will have 40 bikes available to reserve pre-event for the night ($10 per rider) that will be onsite for pickup at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center festival area. These electric-assist cycles make it even easier for folks to participate in our signature event and we appreciate our partner PikeRide for making this possible. Feedback from riders last year was stellar and we look forward to seeing the Perma-Grins on all the bike share riders in August!
Head over to the PikeRide website to reserve your bike today.
Meet Our Amazing Starlight Sponsors
Our 27th annual Starlight Spectacular is made possible because we have a world-class location for our start, finish and everything in between. Garden of the Gods Park and Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center put the spectacular in this event. GOG Visitor and Nature Center supports the event by providing the perfect space, amenities, and even staff. Be sure to pick up a free visitor center movie pass at the registration table night of ride!
LART ( Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax) is another important sponsor for our event. Thanks to LART, we’re able to secure police and medical support to ensure the safety of our guests and put more dollars into marketing, encouraging folks from Denver and Pueblo to join in the fun. LART’s support for events around our region improves the quality of life for residents and tourists!
Big Ol’ Mural opening
Friday, June 30th, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Concrete Couch and CC Mobile Arts will be honoring the amazingly talented students on their collaborative design at Concrete Coyote Community Park.
There will be free food, drinks, and DJs filling the afternoon with creative vibes.
1100 S Royer Street
CMSP: Art in the Park
Sat., July 1st, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Come to Cheyenne Mountain State Park to paint your own masterpiece using the natural beauty of the park as your inspiration. All painting supplies are provided, including canvas and paint, to create a beautiful piece of art. Whether you’re an experienced painter or just looking for a fun way to spend the day with your friends and family, this event is perfect for you. Take in the stunning views of the mountains and the beautiful wildflowers as you unleash your creativity on canvas. No experience is necessary, just come ready to have fun and let your imagination run wild! Bring your loved ones, water, a snack and your imagination to the picnic area (first right after the Visitor center).
Registration required. This event is free, but a valid park pass is required on every vehicle that enters the park.
Garden of the Gods: Yoga at the Rocks
Sat., July 1st, 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Join Amanda Sheble for yoga at the park. A class for yoga practitioners of every level, beginners to the more experienced yogis. Amanda’s goal is for yoga to be accessible, possible, and fun for everyone. She does this through a flowy combination of Vinyasa and Yin yogas, taking your time and concentration in each pose to connect further. Please BYOM (bring your own mat), water bottle, any other props that you enjoy using for practice, and a smile. Plan to meet at the Chuckwagon Pavilion in the Central Garden, off of Lot 2, ready to begin practice at 9:00! Pre-registration is required.
Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain: July Bird Walk
Sat., July 8th, 8:30 AM
Join local birding expert, Joe LaFleur, for a guided nature walk at Crystal Reservoir. Learn to identify the Pikes Peak birds by sight and sound, while also learning about the flowers, plants, and trees.
North Slope admission of $5 admission fee for each adult. If you plan to go to the summit after the program, please purchase the full admission price of: $15 per adult (16 and older), $5 for children (6-15). Guests wanting to drive to the summit will also need to make their timed entry reservation online at www.drivepikespeak.com. If you have any questions regarding this event please call 719-385-7325 and speak to a Ranger. BYOB” “Bring your own binoculars” – recommended but not required.
July is Park and Recreation Month!
Adventure awaits in Colorado Springs this July! Celebrate National Park & Recreation Month and join in on THREE community events. Spend the month of July immersing yourself in the power of parks, recreation, and cultural services – it’s a great way to keep healthy and find adventure right in your backyard.