Wildflowers are blooming & Pikes Peak Marathon Needs Volunteers
Late summer bear activity is starting to pick up. Black bear sightings in neighborhoods and popular parks go up this time of year as bears prepare for hibernation by finding food. From now until freezing temperatures settle in, black bears will consume 20,000 calories a day with 90% of their diets being grasses, berries, fruits, nuts and plants (20,000 calories equals 50 hamburgers!). Their frantic search for food leads to more bear and human encounters along trails and in neighborhoods.
PARK AND TRAIL News
Wildflower Alert: Black Eyed Susans Everywhere
Along almost every urban trail and in almost every open space, you will find huge swaths of black-eyed Susans in bloom. These yellow wildflowers, closely resembling sunflowers, are one of the most prolific late season bloomers in our region.
Thanks to the epic rains we have had this summer, the quantity of this particular flower has exploded. Combine wildflower viewing with your next outdoor adventure in one of these places to enjoy the late season color:
- Sinton Trail: In the fields and meadows along the trail, the black-eyed Susans are reaching their peak in color. Try going for a bike ride an hour before sunset to enjoy “golden hour.” Learn more about the Sinton Trail
- Woodmen Trail: The stretch of trail from Union to beyond Rangewood is beginning to reach prime color. There are acres of wildflower rich areas along this trail where black-eyed Susans will dominate the color palette. Learn more about the Woodmen Trail.
- Honorable Mentions: Ute Valley Park (both east and west sides of the park), High Chaparral Open Space, Blue Stem Prairie Open Space, Garden of the Gods Park, and Paint Mines Interpretive Park.
*Photo Credit: Allen Beauchamp
Widefield Community Park/Crews Gulch Regional Trail Project
Have you taken a stroll (or a spin) along the Crews Gulch Regional Trail before? If you haven’t enjoyed this beautiful trail that takes users from the Fountain Creek Regional Trail at John Ceresa Memorial Park up through Widefield Community Park and beyond, you should!
Recently the trail received major upgrades and enhancements and it should be on your late Summer/early Fall outdoor recreation destination list. For a preview from a Get Out Spread Out Relive video, you can see that HERE.
Here is an update from Ross Williams, a Park Planner from El Paso County Parks and the manager of this project:
The Widefield Community Park / Crews Gulch Regional Trail paving project saw the paving in concrete of 1,050 feet of existing gravel (crusher fines, breeze) trail to an 8’ width with gravel shoulders. The project also included numerous drainage improvements, given the trail’s close proximity to Crews Gulch. A small pedestrian bridge was built over an improved drainage swale, which allows for unimpeded stormwater drainage off of Widefield Boulevard. Park benches and trash cans were tied into the new trail, which is 100% ADA accessible from the main parking lot on Drury Lane to Harvard Street. The project was made possible through a $145,000 Community Development Block Grant and $75,000 in Urban Park Fees collected through the development application process (new residential housing development).
A Phase II project is planned to take place in a few years, which will pave the final 1,200 feet from the terminus of this project to Harvard Street, as well as providing access to the surrounding neighborhood. – Ross Williams, El Paso County Parks
PPACG 2050 Long Range Transporation Plan Community Survey
The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) has begun the planning process looking at the transportation needs for their management district, which El Paso County is a major part of. This is not just about “now” needs, but what we as citizens would like to see well into the future for our current generation and the next. Multi-modal transportation corridors are critically important as safe, human-scale connections throughout our region and make up the backbone of our recreational corridors as well.
PPACG has released a Community Survey and would love your input. The survey is open until September 7th and the project team would appreciate as many voices as possible to be a part of the planning process. If you’ve experiences muti-modal transportation frustrations, now is the time to let PPACG and the planning staff know. What would you like to see improve regional urban trail connectivity?
To take the survey, click HERE
2023 Listening Tour with Mayor Yemi and City Council
Please plan to attend one of the 5 remaining Listening Sessions with Mayor Yemi and Members of City Council. It’s your chance to be heard on issues that matter to you! Are you concerned about safety on our trails? Let him know. Should parks general fund support return to pre-recession levels? Tell him so. What about increasing LART (the Tourist Tax) as a way to fund the parks and trails tourists use?
Mayor Yemi will set the strategic direction of the city and wants your input.
- Aug 11, 5:30 -7:30 COS City Hub(4304 Austin Bluffs Parkway)
- Aug 18th, 5:30-7:30 Hillside Community Center (925 S. Institute)
- Aug 25th, 5:30-7:30 Pikes Peak State College (2070 Interquest Parkway)
- Sept 1, 5:30-7:30 Hybl Center UCCS (4925 N. Nevada)
- Sept 8th, 5:30-7:30 SE Armed Services YMCA (2190 Jet Wind Dr)
- Sept 9th 10am – noon Microsoft Teams ( link to be posted)
For more information:https://coloradosprings.gov/ListeningTour
Electric Bicycle Vouchers Available Statewide Starting Today!
The first round of applications open at 9 a.m. today, August 16th and remain open until 1pm Monday, August 21st.
A link to the online application portal opens at 9 a.m. https://energyoffice.colorado.gov/ebike-rebates
Randomly selected applicants will receive e-bike rebates as long as they meet income requirements.
“Are E-Bikes Allowed on Colorado Springs Trails?”
We get that question often. The city’s legal department is working to answer that question based on our TOPS ordinance. The city’s stated goal is to be in alignment with Colorado and El Paso County’s rules/statutes regarding e-bikes.
TOSC hopes a decision is made soon and appropriate signage can be added to our trail system to provide clarity for local and out of town users.
If you ride your e-bike on city urban or open space trails, you are unlikely to be ticketed for violating city rules. Please follow city recommendations for cyclists in regard to speed, signaling others, staying to the right and giving way to pedestrians and horses.
Blodgett Open Space Master and Management Plan
Community Work Session
Tuesday, August 22nd
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Be a part of an interactive presentation and workshop focusing on gathering input for the Blodgett Open Space Master and Management Plan project.
This workshop offers a chance to learn about the natural resources, hear what the community has said to date, and contribute to a vision that will define the future of Blodgett Open Space.
Join Friends of El Paso County Nature Center and Celebrate Happy Trails!
Friday, August 16th, 6-9pm
Bear Creek Nature Center
Great food, wine, music and incredible desserts.
Support your nature centers and the future Fox Run Nature Center!
Kudos to PPORA and APEX!
The Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance (PPORA) will be supporting critical trail projects through its $10,000 Stewardship Fund allocation. The dollars come from a portion of registration fees for Pikes Peak APEX presented by RockShox, Colorado Springs Lodging and Automobile Rental Tax (LART), and small fund-raising events. Awards include $7,000 to the City of Colorado Springs for the Ladders Trail in North Cheyenne Canon Park, $2,000 to Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates for Buckhorn Trail Repairs and equipment (USFS trail) and $1,000 to Friends of the Peak for St. Mary’s Falls Trail (USFS) maintenance.
Pikes Peak APEX is committed to bringing world class mountain bike racing to the region AND improving our trail system. Registration is open for the 2023 Pikes Peak Apex, Sept 8th – 10th.
TOSC Open Space Volunteer Calendar
Did you know TOSC maintains the most complete outdoor volunteer calendar in the region? TOSC pulls in information from dozens of Friends Groups, agencies, nonprofits and land managers to fill out the calendar in the traditional outdoor volunteer work season, there will be over 300 listings for people to choose from with projects ranging from cleanups to trail work. From now until the end of September, there are over 25 different opportunities listed and more are being added.
Check out the TOSC Open Space Volunteer Calendar: https://www.trailsandopenspaces.org/get-involved/volunteer/
Meet the Starlight Costume Winners!
Thanks to Ted’s Bicycles, Colorado Running Company, Fjallraven, and Cave of the Winds; we had great prizes for our walkers, runners and cyclists who sported creative costumes and lights. “Space Fantasy” as our theme brought out some wonderful costumes. Do you have an idea for next year’s theme? Let us know!
We want to thank Erica Riley for her generous support for the event honoring her Mom Mary Kay Carlson. Thanks to Erica we were able to offer free entries to folks who might not have had the ability to join the event.
Get your Starlight on
Exclusive Starlight Spectacular shirts are available in our Bonfire Shop (along with other cool TOSC items) – order your very own 2023 Starlight hoodies, long sleeve shirts, and tees while they are available!
Friends of Ute Valley Park: Volunteer Work Day
Wed., August 16th, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Come join the Friends of Ute Valley on their Wednesday night volunteer work session! The group will be focused on closing, rerouting and drainage in the central valley as per the master plan. Please wear pants and closed-toe shoes, bring work gloves, eye protection, sunscreen, water, and snacks.
Meet up location is at Ute Valley Park, New Parking Lot located on Ute Valley Trail off Rockrimmon Blvd.
Cheyenne Mountain SP: Meteor Shower Party
Wed., August 16th, 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Join the members of the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society at Cheyenne Mountain State Park and enjoy the Perseid Meteor Shower and views of our night skies through a telescope!
The Perseid Meteor Shower creates a fantastic opportunity to view meteors (aka Shooting Stars)! Bring out the whole family with chairs, blankets and snacks to sit comfortably with us and watch the skies and enjoy the show!
Our CSASTRO members will be bringing out our telescopes for free public viewing of planets, stars and nebula. Listen to a laser guided presentation about the night sky above us and hear some of the stories that cultures have told about the stars for thousands of years. They will be set up at the Limekiln Trailhead parking lot. Restrooms are available.
Love Pancake Rocks?
Help improve this portion of the Ring the Peak Trail. Thanks to LART (Lodgers, Auto Rentals Tax) there is financial support to make the trail safer. You can help RMFI by volunteering.
Project At A Glace: The Pancake Rocks Trail is a popular hiking trail near Cripple Creek, CO. The ~2.3 mile out and back trail (one way) is especially popular in the fall months, as droves of “leaf peepers” descend on the area to enjoy the spectacular fall foliage. The trail gets its name from the unique rock formations found at the terminus of the trail. RMFI is engaged in a collaborative effort with the U.S. Forest Service and the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) to make some much-needed improvements to the trail. The existing trail was not sustainably designed, and many sections are severely damaged and impacting the surrounding natural resources. RMFI and volunteers are working to complete reroutes of these sections, establishing a more sustainable trail.
Dates and Sign-up Information:
- Saturday, August 19th – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2428
- Sunday, August 20th – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2429
- Tuesday, August 22nd – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2430
- Saturday, September 2nd – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2431
- Sunday, September 3rd – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2433
- Monday, September 4th – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2432
- Saturday, September 16th – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2434
- Sunday, September 17th – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2435
- Tuesday, September 19th – https://www.rmfi.org/civicrm-event/2436
Austin Bluffs Open Space Workday – Rim Trail
Monday, Aug 21, 2023
8:00am – 1:00pm
Join volunteers at Austin Bluffs Open Space to refine a short segment of the Rim trail. This special Monday session will work a variety of items including: monowalls, reworking/creating drains/drain armoring and refining tread.
Info plus Registration: https://cerv.is/0132gTViUss
Meet at University Park Blvd and Rockhurst Blvd, street parking, see above link for details. You must register at the above link.
Trail Stewardship: Gray Back Peak Day 3
Saturday August 19
07:30 AM to 04:00 PM
Help realign the Gray Back Peak Trail, which is near Emerald Valley off Old Stage Road! The Colorado Mountain Club 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. On this third workday, they will finish this segment by building some final rock walls, joining the new tread to the old, and blocking off the old trail.
Volunteers, we will rendezvous at El Pomar’s Penrose House Conference Center, 1661 Mesa Ave, Colorado Springs, at 7:30 to carpool up Old Stage Road
Volunteers must bring work clothes & gloves, water, snacks, lunch, sunscreen, and hat. The work area is about 0.9 miles and about 400 feet elevation from the trailhead. This project is open to the public, aged 16 and up — under 18 requires the presence of a parent or guardian.
Old Stage and Gold Camp Roads
Sat., August 26th, 9AM – 12 PM
Friends of Old Stage & Gold Camp Roads is committed to improving these historic roads and preventing illegal shooting, dumping and other illegal uses that damage the roads and impact public use. The group is holding a community clean up on Saturday August 26th from 9AM-Noon in partnership with Focus on the Forest.
Mueller SP: Western Heritage Day
Sat., August 26th, 10:00 AM – 3:0 PM
A good “old time” for the family! Hayride to Cheesman Ranch, live animals, cowboys, kid’s stick horse rodeo, pioneer crafts, kids games, dutch oven cooking, fronterir music, gold panning and much more! Daily park pass is required.
Pikes Peak Marathon: Volunteers Needed (September 16-17)
Volunteers are the backbone of the Pikes Peak Races and they make each race an amazing experience for everyone involved. From helping with the setup of the course to providing water and snacks at aid stations, volunteers help ensure that racers have a safe and enjoyable race.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to volunteer this year. We are especially looking for anyone that might be interested in signing up as van drivers on Ascent Day.