News Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Wildflowers, A New Dog Park, and Starlight

Summer Wildflower Adventures


Thanks to historic rainfall this growing season, the region’s wildflowers are extra special. After years of intense drought, our meadows and hillsides have become pockets of colors bursting onto the scene. Here are some suggestions on where to go hiking this summer to find a variety of wildflowers.


– Plains and Prairie – Try out the Lariat Loop in Kane Ranch Open Space. The purple flowers of the Cholla are blooming and the prairie is the greenest it has been in years. Also on the plains, Bluestem Prairie Open Space has a lot of variety in bloom and provides longer hiking options than Kane Ranch.


– Urban Regional Parks – Palmer Park and Austin Bluffs have great color. As we get deeper in July, the Rudbeckia will create pockets of thick yellow flowers. In early August the Skyline Trail usually has a .5 mile section full of Rudbeckia.


– Foothills – The Columbine Trail in North Cheyenne Canon Park and the trails around Bear Creek Nature Center are fantastic picks for wildflower adventures. Trails that follow the creeks have the best chance of producing wildflowers and are great places to saunter on hot days.


– Mountains – Mueller State Park is an amazing option right now. Almost every trail in the park has some level of wildflower activity. Looking for a difficult adventure? Above 12,000 feet on Pikes Peak, alpine flowers are the last to bloom and have the shortest growing season. In mid- July to mid-August is the best time to see the small flowers in bloom.


El Paso County’s Trailability Program just won two national awards!


The Program received a Universal Accessibility Award from the National Association of County and Park Officials and an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.


The Trailability Program provides accessible outdoor recreational opportunities to individuals with limited mobility. Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers each have a Terrain Hooper, available free of charge with a reservation. The Program is always looking for additional volunteers to help with the program.


To learn more click here.

Congratulations Anna Cordova, Garden of the Gods New Park Manager.


Anna has been the interim Manager since January. With 4 million visitors a year, one of the top destinations in the state and in the top 10 attractions in the world; Garden of the Gods Park is a community jewel to be handled with care.


That’s arguably something the city’s first and only Archaeologist can do better than anyone else!

Crafts & Drafts


Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins may “think” they brew the best beer and coffee and produce the best spirits in Colorado.


We know better.


If you still require more sampling to be convinced, check out the Visit COS Crafts and Drafts 2023. The downloadable passport has 54 different options for you to try with great deals to entice you. The Pass expires December 31st and is completely free to download. Here’s the link to sign up


Thank you Visit COS!

El Paso County Parks News


Pineries Open Space is now completely closed. Damage from heavy rain in June led to the closure of a portion of the trail.


People were ignoring the closure and creating more damage. To protect the property, park staff made the decision to close it completely until conditions improve

You Can Still Celebrate Park and Recreation Month!


If you missed this week’s free Zumba Class, no worries. The Family Fun Walk is in Memorial Park from 9-Noon on Saturday, July 15th and Music in the Park is 5-8pm Friday, July 28th in Pinon Valley Park. And you won’t want to miss the online contests.


For a list of other fun, free events plus some online contests, click here.


New Dog Park in Antlers Park


Downtown residents, out of town visitors and their dogs will soon have a park to call their own. During the city’s planning process one of the more popular proposals was a dog park in Antlers Park. With the closest dog park several miles away in Bear Creek Regional Park and the recent explosion in downtown housing, creating a downtown dog park with 2B funding was the right call. It will include separate play areas for large and small dogs, synthetic turf, a sitting area, play amenities and a dog water station.


The ADA accessible dog park should be completed this fall, weather dependent.


Thank You Veda – A Great Community Partner!


During April – Earth Month, Veda Salons encouraged their customers to support the Trails and Open Space Coalition with wonderful enticements like Bicycles, gift baskets and salon services provided by their generous staff. Their efforts raised $8000+ for TOSC!!! And it gets better. How do they want to be rewarded for their efforts? They asked us to organize a staff trail clean-up. Veda is a great community partner whose actions match their words!

We Heard You!


Following our series of articles on the unhoused living illegally along our creeks and trails, some of you requested more information about local organizations providing services to those residents. A virtual meeting was created with representatives from several groups plus a member of the CS Fire Department’s HOP (Homeless Outreach Program) Team. The HOP teams consist of a mental health worker and CSFD paramedic. Working downtown, they interact with up to 100 people a day and try to connect folks to community agencies.


We also heard from the newly hired leader of the new four person Parks Urban Trail Rangers program.


Parks is hoping once the team is hired and operational, they provide a presence that improves trail safety. Top concerns among providers? Open bathrooms and trash receptacles for the unhoused community.


Love, Lotus, and Leaves – October 6th-8th – A Trails and Open Space Coalition Benefit!


Summer is just about here, but we’ve got a save-the-date for Fall already lined up! The ah-mazing Christy Cole of Urban Veggie has selected TOSC to be the beneficiary of an awesome, fully-immersive yoga retreat experience that she’s planned in early October. The SCP Hotel will be the base of operations for Love, Lotus, and Leaves and the days are filled with wonderful activities, a TOSC-led hike included!


For more information and to purchase your ticket, you can visit the Evenbrite site HERE


Enter $50 off promo code “illuminate” for special TOSC insiders through the end of the July!

Park to Park Summer Family Stroll


This Saturday July 15th from 9:00am – 11:00am, rally the littles and come out to Shooks Park, across the street from the Trails and Open Space Coalition office at the COS Sustainacenter for the free Park to Park Summer Family Stroll! Together with our partners at Children’s Hospital Colorado and Hike It Baby, we’ll be taking the group on a Summertime stroll up to the Patty Jewett Junction playground, next to Good Neighbors Meeting House. The group will be on the Shooks Run Trail the entire way and will finish back at North Shooks Park, so three parks and playgrounds in one event! An additional bonus is that the Middle Shooks Run Neighborhood Association is putting on their annual Summer Fest celebration starting at 11:00am at the park, so families will be able to enjoy the family-friendly environment and activities.


Registration is required but the event is free. To find out additional info and register online, please visit the link HERE

Like Prizes? Another Reason to Sign-up for our Starlight Spectacular Today!

Each year Ted’s Bike Shop provides two, colorful cruiser bicycles to our winning costumed/well-lit cyclists.

This year we have $100 gift cards from Colorado Running Company for Saucony Trail or Road shoes plus Cave of the Winds passes for the best costumed male, female and child walker/runner.

This year’s theme is “Space Fantasy.” Put your imagination in high gear, create a costume that’s “out of this world” and win!


Starlight Spectacular: Sustainability is our Goal


TOSC’s goal for the 27th annual Starlight Spectacular is to be the greenest event in Colorado Springs this summer. One way that event organizers are aiming to hit sustainability goals is through the responsible use of water. Instead of using paper or plastic cups at rest stations, participants are encouraged to bring their own water bottles. The event features the “water buffalo” from Colorado Springs Utilities which allows for an easy filling station that wastes no water. A big focus this year will be recycling old gear.


There will be a station to drop off used running shoes and another station for old bicycle lights that no longer operate. One of the big highlights of Starlight is the costumes and lights people wear.


Participants are encouraged to decorate themselves and their bikes with materials that can be used multiple times and to skip single use products. At the end of the event, multiple sweeps of volunteers go along the route and pickup any trash that is found, even if it wasn’t produced by our event. By dawn’s early light, TOSC’s goal is for the park to be as pristine as possible.

Thank you Starlight Sponsors!


Heuberger Subaru has been our “Title Sponsor” for 15+ years! An amazing community partner, their staff and clients are huge supporters (and users) of our trails, parks and open spaces and they see value in TOSC’s projects and programs. Heuberger Subaru also supports our Scoop the Poop program!


Be sure to check out their table (and cool car) in the “festival zone.” They always have the “best swag!”


SRAM is another great sponsor. SRAM is an internationally respected bicycle component manufacturer with a facility filled with smart, talented people here in Colorado Springs. Passionate about cycling, they use our trails for recreation and transportation and appreciate TOSC’s focus on trail connectivity and securing more acres of open space. If you own a well-made bicycle, chances are it contains SRAM components.


WANTED: Starlight Course Marshals


Volunteers are the heartbeat of the Starlight Spectacular. In an average year, around 100 volunteers give a few hours of service to help make the event memorable. This year, there is big need for course marshals.


For 2 hour shifts, Course Marshals will work in pairs in strategic spots along the bike and fun run/walk routes to help participants stay on the correct path. In previous years, Course Marshals have decorated their cars in lights and have dressed up in costumes to add a festive touch along the route. There are over 20 spots left to fill and we would love to have your help on August 5th! All volunteers receive an event t-shirt.


Volunteer Registration

Community Events

Colorado Mountain Club (Pikes Peak Chapter): Gray Back Peak Workday

Sat., July 15th from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM


Come help realign the Gray Back Peak Trail, which is near Emerald Valley off Old Stage Road! The group will be building new trail to bypass a section that is too steep and eroded — and the new trail will also have much better views of Emerald Valley and Mount Vigil. Everyone will continue building rock walls to skirt a pile of boulders, create some basic tread, and make some climbing turns.


More Information

Monument Valley Park

Musical Monday Concerts

6:30 PM


July 10 – Heather & Sam (Acoustic Duo – Rock, Country & Pop)

July 17 – Tribe w/John Wise (Blues, Reggae & New Orleans R&B)

July 24 – Frog’n Fiddle (Classic Rock, Bluegrass & Folk)


All Concerts Start at 6:30 pm


LOCATION: Lawn to the West of the Fine Arts Center Intersection of Mesa Road & West Cache La Poudre Street


Free Concerts! Bring a blanket/chair, a picnic, and a friend! Food Truck Available!

July Liquid Lecture with Concrete Couch

Date: Wednesday, July 19th

Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm


Save the date of July 19th for the next talk in the Fountain Creek Watershed District’s Liquid Lecture Series.

Concrete Couch, a local arts-based nonprofit will be presenting on their Concrete Coyote project. This major restoration project of an old industrial piece of property and dump site into innovative and absolutely unique neighborhood park destination along the Legacy Loop trail in the Hillside community.


Please RSVP for this free event  if planning to attend to


Location: Atrevida Beer Company

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