Outdoors

Monday, August 3, 2015

Midland Trail underpass closes today

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 3:15 PM

The planned closure of the Midland Trail underpass at I-25 was delayed, but apparently started this morning. 

Detours are in place. Read on for the details:

Midland Trail I-25 Underpass Closure Update

Closure of Midland Trail Begins Monday, August 3


A delay in the previously announced closure will begin the morning of Monday, August 3. The contractor has assured that crews on the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) Interstate-25/Cimarron Interchange Design-Build Project will close the Midland Trail I-25 underpass into America the Beautiful Park as they begin a series of trail improvements. Signed and clearly marked Midland Trail detour routes will be in place for users to navigate around the closure. The new trail configuration that opens in summer of 2017 will create a better experience for trail users.

Midland Trail Detour:
Eastbound trail users will take South Chestnut Street north to West Cucharras Street, continue as it becomes South Walnut Street and connects to Colorado Avenue, then take Colorado Avenue east under I-25, then turn south on Cimino Drive to access America the Beautiful Park and the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail.

Westbound trail users accessing the Midland Trail from the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail, will turn east over the Monument Creek pedestrian bridge and follow the trail through America The Beautiful Park to Cimino Drive, then turn west on Colorado Avenue, then take South Walnut Street as it curves to the west and becomes West Cucharras Street, then turn south on South Chestnut Street to access the Midland Trail on the right.

Temporary Greenway Trail Access - During a brief project by the City of Colorado Springs, access to the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail from the Midland Trail will follow Cimino Drive east of America the Beautiful Park and follow the concrete trail until it intersects with the Greenway Trail south of the park. 
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

City defends "dangerous" bike lanes

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 3:05 PM

screen_shot_2015-07-28_at_2.33.48_pm.png

The Trails and Open Space Coalition is calling out the city for installing “confusing, frightening, and dangerous” bike lanes on Austin Bluffs Boulevard near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

According to the TOSC website, cyclists are complaining about lanes which seem to guide cyclists directly into oncoming traffic.

“The fact that an alternative path exists but has no signage shows the lack of thought put into this project,” the site states. “City Planning says the plans for this project were developed years ago. We say that’s no excuse for not seeing the problems ahead of time and working to create a solution.”

The city, however, says the bike lanes have been in place for years and only minor modifications have been made to increase rider safety where bike lanes are in conflict with off-ramp traffic. The new design, city spokesperson Kim Melchor says via email, is intended to make cyclists more visible to traffic and to give them better sight-lines when crossing. The lanes are not yet complete, she says, and signage is planned for the area.

The idea for the lane design, by the way, came from the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. You can check that out here:

“We are installing bike lanes that provide the safest movement for cyclists,” Melchor says via email. “However, the cyclist should assess their riding ability and experience before attempting [traveling] on any bike lane with traffic.”
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bear killed illegally in southwest Springs

Posted By on Tue, Jul 14, 2015 at 8:43 AM

click image Black bears are common in westside neighborhoods. - PLF73
  • PLF73
  • Black bears are common in westside neighborhoods.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking help finding a poacher.

An approximately 400 pound black bear was killed recently in the Cheyenne Mountain Estates neighborhood. Read on for more information:

BLACK BEAR POACHED IN COLORADO SPRINGS, CPW SEEKS INFORMATION

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife seeks information about an approximately 400 pound male black bear, poached late July 9 or in the early morning hours of July 10 in the Cheyenne Mountain Estates neighborhood in the southwest area of Colorado Springs.

CPW encourages anyone who has information relating to this incident to contact Operation Game Thief at (877) 265-6648 or via email game.thief@state.co.us.

An individual who provides information that leads to the conviction of a poacher may receive up to a $500 dollar reward under OGT.

The public is reminded that poaching is a serious crime and takes away wildlife opportunities from responsible hunters and the citizens of the state of Colorado.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Ugh. Another closure on the Midland Trail.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 12:42 PM

If you get around by bike or foot, chances are you've run into some problems as of late. Here's one to add to your list: The Colorado Department of Transportation plans to close the Midland Trail underpass at I-25 on July 20.

The Midland Trail already has a storm-related closure between 25th and 28th Streets, so this will be a second obstacle for cyclists and walkers. While CDOT plans to make trail improvements that should ultimately benefit non-motorized travelers, the timing is pretty bad. 

For one thing, trail closures aren't isolated to the popular Midland Trail. The Pikes Peak Greenway/Santa Fe Trail is the city's main artery if you happen to travel by foot or bike. Parts of it are closed due to storm damage as well.

Midland Trail underpass at I-25 to close July 20

Temporary Trail Detour in Place During Construction of New Trail


Beginning the morning of Monday, July 20, crews on the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) Interstate-25/Cimarron Interchange Design-Build Project will close the Midland Trail I-25 underpass into America the Beautiful Park as they begin a series of trail improvements. The access to the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail off Colorado Avenue will remain open; and signed, clearly marked Midland Trail detour routes will be in place for users to navigate around the closure. The new trail configuration that opens in summer of 2017 will create a better experience for trail users.


Midland Trail Detour: Eastbound trail users will take S. Chestnut Street north to W. Cucharras Street, continue as it becomes S. Walnut Street and connects to Colorado Avenue, then take Colorado Avenue east under I-25 to the Greenway Trail or continue on Colorado Avenue to Cimino Drive to access America the Beautiful Park and connect back to the Midland Trail.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bike to Work Day: Now I just have to get home

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM

CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs

Today was Bike to Work Day, and the timing was not exactly great.

My allergies have been so bad that I stayed home from work yesterday. I was pretty tired when I hopped on my bike this morning and rode from Manitou Springs to downtown. Thankfully, it's downhill.

When I arrived at work, I read that an off-duty police officer had been hit on his bike. According to the police blotter, which lists the time of the crash as 6:35 a.m., "The Bicyclist suffered non life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital for evaulation [sic] and care. The Motorist was cited for careless driving causing bodily injury and failure to yield." 

Well, my ride wasn't that bad. Aside from the copious ragweed, actually, it was fairly pleasant. The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. The golden morning sunlight was sparkly with bits of cotton from the trees. 

I didn't make it out to ride with the mayor. (Sorry, but I'm just not masochistic enough to get up in time for a 5:45 a.m. bike ride.) I didn't go to the free breakfast either — because I have food allergies. But I did the ride. And really, it wasn't bad.

This evening, however, looks less pleasant. The rain clouds have moved in.

It's sort of refreshing, though, to be a part of the world in this way. Normally, when I'm driving, the worst a rain cloud is going to do to me is dampen my clothes as I rush to the car. When you're on bike, you're suddenly a part of nature again. You're at its mercy. When you're wet and cold, that's sort of a bad thing. But at the same time, there's something refreshing about it. You become more observant of the world around you. You break out of your bubble. 

So, tonight, as I ride up the hill back home, I'm going to try to appreciate the weather. The ragweed, however...

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Suthers will pedal to work

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 12:54 PM

If you want to see the city's new 62-year-old chief executive in bike shorts, here's your chance. But you have to get up pretty early in the morning to feast your eyes on John Suthers as he pumps the pedals from Goose Gossage Park to downtown.

Here's a news release with all the info:
Bike to work day is Wednesday, and Suthers will join in. - TEJVAN PETTINGER
  • Tejvan Pettinger
  • Bike to work day is Wednesday, and Suthers will join in.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Media are invited to participate in and cover the Mayor’s Ride, Wednesday, June 24 as part of the 22nd annual Bike to Work Day (B2WD) sponsored by Mountain Metro Transit and the YMCA of the Pikes Peak region. Mayor John Suthers will be riding along with members of City Council from Goose Gossage Park utilizing the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail to the Acacia Park B2WD breakfast location to raise awareness of bicycling’s positive impact on the community. The public is invited to participate.

• Media opportunities will be available prior to the ride at 5:45 a.m., the ride will depart at 6:15 a.m. Mayor’s Ride Map
• Mayor Suthers will be riding an industry leading “Fat Bike” from local company, Borealis Fat Bikes.
• There will also be a quick photo opportunity during the ride at Boulder Crescent park at the intersection of Platte and Cascade avenues at approximately 6:30 a.m.
• Additionally, media are invited to cover the downtown breakfast at Acacia Park. Mayor Suthers and several members from the community will speak at the event.

Speakers at Acacia Park Breakfast:
7:00 a.m. – John Suthers, Mayor of Colorado Springs
7:20 a.m. –Travis Easton, City of Colorado Springs Public Works Director
7:45 a.m. – Susan Davies, Executive Director, Trails and Open Space Coalition
8:10 a.m. – Justin Widhalm, Olympic Athlete
8:20 a.m. – Ted Hyde, Bicycle Colorado

New this year, Mountain Metro Rides and YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region are working together to provide more breakfast locations for morning commuters. Breakfast will be served from 6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. at the following locations:

Central/Downtown: Acacia Park, 115 East Platte Avenue
Central/East: Memorial Park Recreation Center YMCA, 280 S. Union Blvd.
Southeast: Southeast & Armed Services YMCA, 2190 Jet Wing Dr.
North/Central: Garden Ranch YMCA, 2380 Montebello Dr. West
Northeast: Briargate YMCA, 4025 Family Place

For more information visit Mountain Metropolitan’s web pages or contact Kelley Heider at kheider@springsgov.com.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Feeling self-righteous about Bike to Work Day

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 3:41 PM

Oh, hey. 

I just signed up for Bike to Work Day. I'm pretty sure that means that I am both physically fit and community-minded. It also means I'm probably getting a really cool free pin that will save me money (read on for more information on that sweet deal).

I don't mean to brag, really. It's just that signing up for Bike to Work Day makes you feel good about yourself — good and maybe a little bit cocky. I mean, I'm doing something that's good for the planet and I'm getting exercise. 

What are you doing? Hmmm? Going home to your couch to binge watch Orange Is the New Black? Well, OK. Technically, I'm probably doing that too.

But at least I signed up for Bike to Work Day.

By the way, you too can feel this good about yourself. And you can get a free savings pin. Read on:
The pin.
  • The pin.
Bike to Work Day Commemorative Pins for the First 1,000 Cyclists

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— The first 1,000 Bike to Work Day participants will receive a commemorative pin that entitles them to discounts and deals around town. The 22nd annual Mountain Metro Rides Bike to Work Day will be held on Wednesday, June 24th from 6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Registration is open sign up today! This year, Bike to Work Day is not just a celebration during your morning commute. Now you can ride your bike to one of the local businesses listed below and show them your pin for a special deal.

· 2South Wine Bar - 1/2 price bottles of wine PLUS buy one get one free small plates! Offer good on Bike to Work Day only.

· Bristol Brewing Company - One free beer! Offer good on Bike to Work Day only.

· McCabe's Tavern - 10% off PLUS free New Belgium swag. Offer for 10% off good year-round if you ride your bike!

· Odyssey Gastropub - 50% off beer and regular happy hour specials all day on 6/24 AND regular happy hour specials any time of day through 6/30/15

· Poor Richard's/Rico's - 1/2 off one cup of coffee/tea or one glass of beer/wine. Discount cards will be available at breakfast locations and are redeemable any time!

· Springs Orleans - 50% off Fat Tire and 30% off all other alcohol! Offer good on Bike to Work Day only.

· Whole Foods Market on Academy - Free peanut or almond butter packet, an energy bar and a banana. Offer good through 6/30/15!

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Lots of news for cyclists

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 11:39 AM

Bike to Work Day Breakfast at Acacia Park in 2014. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS/MOUNTAIN METROPOLITAN TRANSIT
  • City of Colorado Springs/Mountain Metropolitan Transit
  • Bike to Work Day Breakfast at Acacia Park in 2014.

The sun has come out of hibernation, and most cyclists are eager to get back in the saddle.

But there are a couple good reasons to take quick breaks from the bike this week. For one thing, the last two meetings for the Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan happen Wednesday and Thursday. If you want to give input on a plan that will shape our cycling infrastructure until 2025, this is your chance. 

Second, the city has announced Bike to Work Day registration. The event is a lot of fun, but it's also a great way to show that Colorado Springs is a bike-friendly city. For instance, participation in this event is one of the things that the League of American Bicyclists looks at when it's rating our city. 

So make a little time this week for both the meetings and the registration if you can. The information on both is below:
REMINDER: Final two Bike Master Plan workshops happening this week

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — The two final bike master planning workshops to discuss the proposed update to the Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan are underway this week. The Bicycle Master Plan sets a vision for the year 2025 and will help shape the future of bicycling in Colorado Springs and the City of Colorado Springs is asking for public input.

The Bike Master Plan will build upon the Regional Non-motorized Plan efforts and develop a path to transform Colorado Springs into a community that allows for motorists and cyclists to safely share the road. Over the course of 2014, City staff and its regional partners worked with the community to develop a new Bicycle Master Plan for Colorado Springs and are seeking input on the plan’s vision and prioritization of bicycle routes in the city.

Please join us at one of the following workshops to discuss the Bike Master Plan update and the upcoming process. Both workshops begin at 6:00 p.m.:


• North

June 3

Library 21c

1175 Chapel Hills Drive


• Southeast

June 4

Southeast YMCA

2190 Jet Wing Drive

Participants will hear a short presentation on the Bike Master Plan and recent bicycling initiatives in Colorado Springs. Attendees will then work in small groups to provide input on the vision for a bicycle friendly community and to provide additional inputs on the top bicycle routes in Colorado Springs.

The Bicycle Master Plan integrates existing city plans, best practices and innovative thinking, and proposes a comprehensive set of strategies to create a safe and comfortable bicycling environment for people of all ages. The Plan includes several appendices with details pertaining to existing conditions, public education, existing bicycle programs, bicycle facility design and wayfinding guidelines and implementation details.

Colorado Springs is home to an active and vibrant bicycling community. With more than 100 miles of on-street bicycle routes, nearly 120 miles of urban bike trails and more than 60 miles of unpaved mountain bike trails, our city is committed to ensuring that biking is a convenience, safe and connected form of transportation and recreation. Colorado Springs is rated #45 in the Top 50 Bicycle Friendly Cities in America by the League of American Bicyclists. Colorado Springs was recently recognized in the American Community Survey (ACS) as #38 for the nation’s fastest growing cities for bicycle commuting and is funded in part by a self-imposed bicycle excise tax to fund bikeway improvement within the City of Colorado Springs. For more information about bicycling programs, mobile-friendly bike racks, safety information and a map of bike lanes around the city visit www.coloradosprings.gov/bike.
Mountain Metro Rides

22nd Annual Bike to Work Day Event Registration is Now Open!


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— Mountain Metro Rides, a division of Mountain Metropolitan Transit, organizes Bike to Work Day each June to encourage bicycling for personal and community health, alternative transportation, recreation and sustainability. This year marks the 22nd anniversary for Metro Rides Bike to Work Day and the event will be held on Wednesday, June 24 th. Registration is open sign up today!

New this year, Mountain Metro Rides and YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region are working together to provide more breakfast locations. Breakfast will be provided at:

• Central/Downtown: Acacia Park, 115 East Platte Avenue

• Central/East: Memorial Park Recreation Center YMCA, 280 S. Union Blvd.

• Southeast: Southeast & Armed Services YMCA, 2190 Jet Wing Dr.

• North/Central: Garden Ranch YMCA, 2380 Montebello Dr. West

• Northeast: Briargate YMCA, 4025 Family Place

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Finally! Some good trails news.

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 4:53 PM

click image LESZEK LESZCZYNSKI
  • Leszek Leszczynski

For weeks now, outdoor enthusiasts have weathered bad news about beloved trails: they're closed, they're damaged, they're washed away.

Well, here's some good news: Section 16, Palmer and Intemann trails are back open. You still have to be careful on the trails, and there will be mud on them — which you should hike straight through rather than damaging the forest by hiking around it. You should also avoid any trails that are closed.

But hey, this is good news, folks, and just in time for weekend adventuring!
Update to City Parks and Trails closures
Section 16, Palmer and Intemann Trails now open to public


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo – A popular hiking area on the City’s west side is now open to the public. Section 16, which includes Intemann and Palmer Trails, was previously closed due to recent heavy rain events that forced several parks and trails to close in Colorado Springs. Several areas still remain closed. Park and trail users are strongly encouraged to heed trail closures and avoid low lying areas for their own safety. Please follow all closures, barricades and exercise caution on all trails. Varying degrees of damage may exist on the trails and in the parks.

The following areas are closed until further notice.

· The Midland Trail between 25th and 28th Streets

· Red Rock Canyon Open Space due to the extensive damage caused by recent rains and a dam breach within Sand Canyon

· Foothills Trail within Garden of the Gods between Gateway Road and the Navigators.

· Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Nevada Avenue and El Pomar Youth Sports Park

· Trails from Section 16 into Red Rock Canyon proper

Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Canyon Open Space remains closed to rock climbing, the climbing ban for North Cheyenne Canyon climbing has been lifted. Because sandstone is very fragile when wet, these areas will be closed to climbing until they are deemed safe for climbing.

Park and trail users are also encouraged to use good judgment to help protect our natural resources in the areas that remain open. Most parks and trails are completely saturated and muddy. Residents should stay on the trails – even if they’re muddy – to help protect the land and natural areas.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Help fix Rock Island Trail

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 4:46 PM

Trails have been damaged by heavy rains and floods. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • Trails have been damaged by heavy rains and floods.

Floods have done extensive damage to the city's trail system.

Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, says her members have been eager to begin the work needed to fix the trails. She's thankful that the city has announced the first project that volunteers can help with. 

Those willing to roll up their sleeves and get a little dirty are needed to repair Rock Island Trail tomorrow.
EMERGENCY FLOOD PROJECT—

ROCK ISLAND TRAIL

Volunteers are urgently needed Thurs, May 28 to help El Paso County Parks fill and place sand bags on the Rock Island Trail. The job involves some lifting, bending and shoveling.

Meet at 10 am at EPC Public Service building, 3255 Acres Drive. Call Adam Baker for more information and to sign up, 719-495-0765.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

UPDATE: Floods cause trail closures

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 10:53 AM

The city apparently won't be allowing any rock climbing in city parks over the weekend. Here are a few more updates from the city:

Park & Trail Closures UPDATE!

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services staff continues to assess damage throughout the City’s park system from recent rain. Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Polk Street and Tremont Street has re-opened. The following remain closed at this time.

City Parks and Trails Closures

• The Midland Trail between 26th Street and Ridge Road
• Red Rock Canyon Open Space due to the extensive damage caused by recent rains and a dam breach within Sand Canyon. At this time, no private property is affected. Park staff is assessing damage and trail conditions throughout the entire property.
• Foot Hills Trail within Garden of the Gods between Gateway Road and the Navigators.
• Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Nevada Avenue and El Pomar Youth Sports Park

Park and trail users are strongly encouraged to heed trail closures and avoid low lying areas for their own safety. Please follow all closures, barricades and exercise caution on all trails. Varying degrees of damage may exist on the trails and in the parks.

Park and trail users are also encouraged to use good judgment to help protect our natural resources in the areas that remain open. Most parks and trails are completely saturated and muddy. If you do venture out this weekend, remember to stay on the trails – even if they’re muddy – to help protect the land and natural areas.


——- UPDATED POST, TODAY, 10:53 A.M. ———

Update:
I hope you weren't planning to hit the trails this Memorial Day weekend, because continued bad weather is causing even more trail and park closures.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space is closed. The city's main commuter trail, the Santa Fe/ Pikes Peak Greenway has suffered major damage. However, the Air Force Academy trails, which were inaccessible for a while due to security concerns, appear to be open again. The exception is a portion of the Santa Fe trail that runs through the Academy, which is closed to the general public unless the guests are sponsored by a DoD ID cardholder. However, other reports say that the trail is heavily damaged from floods.

The Trails and Open Space Coalition is keeping a good tab on what is closed. Check their list here.

The city lists the following closures:
• The Midland Trail between 26th Street and Ridge Road

• Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Polk Street and Tremont Street

• Red Rock Canyon Open Space due to the extensive damage caused by recent rains and a dam breach within Sand Canyon. At this time, no private property is affected. Park staffs is assessing damage and trail conditions throughout the entire property.

• Foot Hills Trail within Garden of the Gods between Gateway Road and the Navigators.

• Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Nevada Avenue and El Pomar Youth Sports Park
El Paso County has also released a list of its closures:
Parks Closes Trails

Damage from Rain and Flash Flooding


El Paso County, CO, May 23, 2015 – El Paso County Parks has closed numerous trails due to damage from the recent rains and flash flooding.

Closed Trails include:

New Santa Fe Regional Trail - The trail section through the Air Force Academy (AFA) has been temporarily closed by the AFA due to heighten security concerns.

Rainbow Falls Recreation Area - The site is temporarily closed due to flooding issues and CDOT road closures.

Ute Pass Regional Trail- The trail is closed from Crystola Canyon Road south to Green Mountain Falls Road due to trail washouts.

Fountain Creek Regional Trail -
1. The Hanson Trailhead is closed in addition to area trails. The bridge across Fountain Creek near the trailhead is also closed.
2. The Fishers Canyon trail section (near Maxwell Street Trailhead) is closed due to structural issues.
3. The trail section through the Stratmoor Valley Trailhead is closed due to creek bank failures and trail washouts.
4. The trail sections near Willow Springs Ponds and Highway 16 underpass are closed due to creek bank failures and washout of trails.

Clear Springs Ranch - Trail closed at low water crossing approximately ¼ mile north of the trailhead.

Regional Park Trails - Numerous trails in regional parks have been impacted by flooding. Park users are advised to use caution on all regional park trails.
——- ORIGINAL POST, May 13, 2:46 P.M. ——-

In past years, flooding has caused major damage. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • In past years, flooding has caused major damage.


Recent floods have damaged trails, including the popular Pikes Peak Greenway Trail (aka the Santa Fe Trail).

The city is asking cyclists and other trail users to respect the closures while repairs are made. Reroutes are being looked at where possible. 

Here's what the city has to say:
Closure of two major trail segments

Colorado Springs, CO – Rains of the past week and the subsequent flooding have damaged two vital parts of the City’s regional trail system necessitating the closure of two major trail segments:

· Flooding along Camp Creek significantly damaged the Foot Hills Trail within Garden of the Gods. The trail has been closed between Gateway Road and the Navigators

· Three major washouts occurred on the Greenway Trail and it has been closed between Nevada Avenue and El Pomar Youth Sports Park

City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services staff is investigating the damage and will be identifying a path forward to facilitate repairs and accommodate reroutes where possible. Also, various degrees of damage may exist on trail segments throughout the community so our trail users are advised to use caution.
The Trails and Open Space Coalition appears to have a more exhaustive list of such closures on its website. So far, it lists the following:
• Pikes Peak Greenway—south of Tejon, and near Monument Valley Park

• Midland Trail near 25th St.

• Foothills Trail near Glen Eyrie

• Fountain Creek Regional Trail—three closures

• Ute Pass Regional Trail—Green Mtn Falls

• Rainbow Falls

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A good reason to get off your bike

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2015 at 3:20 PM

CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
In February, I wrote a cover story about bicycling in the Springs (read it here). 

For those that prefer two wheels, the story had both good news and bad news. The bad news is that our city's bike lanes and trails aren't as connected or well-maintained as they could be. The good news is that our city is trying to do something about that, starting with a plan. 

The Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan is basically complete. But citizens and cyclists still have a chance to comment on it and suggest tweaks. The plan will determine what trails and lanes get built in the coming years, so if you like riding your bike around town, this is important stuff. 

If you want to comment on it, check out the press release below, which includes a schedule of public meetings.

City seeks public participation in shaping future of bicycling in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — The City of Colorado Springs will host four workshops around the city to discuss the proposed update to the Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan that sets a vision for the year 2025 and will help shape the future of bicycling in Colorado Springs.

The Bike Master Plan will build upon the Regional Non-motorized Plan efforts and develop a path to transform Colorado Springs into a community that allows for motorists and cyclists to safely share the road. Over the course of 2014, City staff and its regional partners worked with the community to develop a new Bicycle Master Plan for Colorado Springs and are seeking input on the plan’s vision and prioritization of bicycle routes in the city.

Please join us at one of the following workshops to discuss the Bike Master Plan update and the upcoming process. All workshops begin at 6:00 p.m.:

Southwest

May 20

Cheyenne Mountain High School,

1200 Cresta Road

West

May 21

Eagle View Middle School

1325 Vindicator Drive

North

June 3

Library 21c

1175 Chapel Hills Drive

Southeast

June 4

Southeast YMCA

2190 Jet Wing Drive


Participants will hear a short presentation on the Bike Master Plan and recent bicycling initiatives in Colorado Springs. Attendees will then work in small groups to provide input on the vision for a bicycle friendly community and to provide additional inputs on the top bicycle routes in Colorado Springs.

The Bicycle Master Plan integrates existing city plans, best practices and innovative thinking, and proposes a comprehensive set of strategies to create a safe and comfortable bicycling environment for people of all ages. The Plan includes several appendices with details pertaining to existing conditions, public education, existing bicycle programs, bicycle facility design and wayfinding guidelines and implementation details.

Colorado Springs is home to an active and vibrant bicycling community. With more than 100 miles of on-street bicycle routes, nearly 120 miles of urban bike trails and more than 60 miles of unpaved mountain bike trails, our city is committed to ensuring that biking is a convenience, safe and connected form of transportation and recreation. Colorado Springs is rated #45 in the Top 50 Bicycle Friendly Cities in America by the League of American Bicyclists. Colorado Springs was recently recognized in the American Community Survey (ACS) as #38 for the nation’s fastest growing cities for bicycle commuting and is funded in part by a self-imposed bicycle excise tax to fund bikeway improvement within the City of Colorado Springs. For more information about bicycling programs, mobile-friendly bike racks, safety information and a map of bike lanes around the city visit www.coloradosprings.gov/bike.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Keep your dog on a leash and away from wildlife

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 2:59 PM

This deer doesn't want to be chased by your dog. - BRYAN OLLER
  • Bryan Oller
  • This deer doesn't want to be chased by your dog.

There are plenty of reasons to keep your dog on a leash — starting with the fact that you're legally required to do so in most parks.

Some people are afraid of dogs. Other dogs may not be as friendly as yours and could attack your dog. Your dog may not be as friendly as you think and could attack someone or another dog. Loose dogs can run into traffic or in the path of a cyclist. There's even the chance that some maniac may shoot your dog. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is emphasizing yet another good reason to leash your pup: Loose dogs have a tendency to attack wildlife. 

As the release below notes, "Many pet owners believe that their dogs would never chase wildlife. The fact is that most dogs, given the chance, follow their ancient predator instincts and will chase wildlife."

And that can end with injured or dead wildlife, an injured or dead dog, and a great big ticket.

Read on for more information on how dogs are impacting Colorado's wild places:

DOGS CHASING WILDLIFE: AN ONGOING PROBLEM IN COLORADO


DURANGO, Colo. – Dogs chasing wildlife is nearly a constant problem in Colorado. The issue is particularly serious during the winter when dogs can easily rundown deer and elk in the snow and injure or kill them.

So far this winter, wildlife officers in every corner of the state have filed reports of chasing incidents. During the first week of January just north of Durango, one dog chased a herd of about 20 elk into the Animas River, explained Matt Thorpe, area wildlife manager in Durango.

"On a cold day those elk should have been bedding down so they could conserve energy," Thorpe said. "But because of that dog they stood in the cold water of the river for most of the rest of the day burning up calories they couldn't afford to lose."

The owner of the dog was located and ticketed. He paid a fine of $276.50.

During winter deer and elk can lose up to 40 percent of their body weight. The animals continue to feed on dormant grass and woody plant material, but dry vegetation holds little nutritional value.

"Deer and elk are barely surviving during the winter," Thorpe said. "They store up fat during the summer, but most of it gets burned off during the winter. If an animal has to run from a dog, it's using up calories that can't be replaced."

In another incident, four dogs recently killed three elk near Crestone in the San Luis Valley. Fortunately, CPW officers found the owners and wrote three tickets for $275 each. Colorado law also allows CPW to impose a fine to compensate the state for the loss of an animal.

Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager in Monte Vista, said that big game animals suffer horribly when they're attacked by dogs.

"So often we see injured and mangled deer that survived the initial attack. They are barely clinging to life and have no chance of making it through the winter," Basagoitia said. "Then we have to do something we hate to do, we put them down."

Many pet owners believe that their dogs would never chase wildlife. The fact is that most dogs, given the chance, follow their ancient predator instincts and will chase wildlife.

"Once a dog or group of dogs starts this behavior they rarely stop because they quickly learn to enjoy the chase," Basagoitia said.

But this behavior can also lead to a dog's demise. If a wildlife officer or other law enforcement officer sees dogs chasing deer or elk, Colorado law allows the dog to be shot.

"We don’t like to take drastic action against dogs. Dealing with the dog owners is the best way to prevent these types of incidents," Basagoitia said.

There are many reasons dogs should be kept on a leash when walking in areas where wildlife are present. One dog owner in the Gunnison area found out the hard way early in January while walking his pet in the popular Hartman Rocks recreation area.

The dog was running free and disappeared over a rise. A couple of minutes later the dog reappeared –- running from a mountain lion. The cougar caught the dog and injured it slightly before being chased off by the owner. The dog survived and the pet owner learned a lesson.

"I believe that the lion was protecting a food cache nearby, probably a deer that it had killed," said J Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison. "The lion was being a lion. There's a reason why dogs should be on a leash."

Even in seemingly controlled environments like state parks, dogs are required to be on a leash. At Ridgway State Park dogs often chase wildlife, other dogs and even people.

"When we contact owners whose dogs have attacked wildlife or bitten someone, they always insist that their dog has never behaved like that," said Kirstin Copeland, Ridgway park manager. "But we know that dogs act differently when they're taken out of their normal environment."

CPW officials know that people in Colorado love their dogs. But they also have a responsibility to assure that their animals don't become a hazard to wildlife, people and other dogs.

"It's not difficult to keep a dog under control and to train it properly," said Patt Dorsey, southwest regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "Keep your dogs secure when you're at work during the day. Let's give wildlife a chance"

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jones Park decision moved to Jan. 13

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Ownership of Jones Park became an issue after the stretch of Bear Creek it contains was discovered to be the last wild habitat of the threatened greenback cutthroat trout. - COURTESY BRUCE ROSENLUND
  • Courtesy Bruce Rosenlund
  • Ownership of Jones Park became an issue after the stretch of Bear Creek it contains was discovered to be the last wild habitat of the threatened greenback cutthroat trout.

The Trails and Open Space Coalition is letting members know that the City Council decision on whether to transfer Jones Park to El Paso County has been delayed to Jan. 13.

It is expected to pass. Jones Park, a popular biking and hiking spot, has long been owned by Colorado Springs Utilities. But Utilities has been trying to get rid of the property since it was discovered that the area was the last wild home of the threatened greenback cutthroat trout. For more on the Jones Park issue check here.

Here's what TOSC had to say:

Final vote delayed to January 13.

This week Colorado Springs City Council postponed a final vote on Jones Park until January 13th, to give the City Attorney time to correct minor legal language in the resolution giving the parcel to El Paso County. The resolution as presented calls for a conservation easement on the property, and deed restrictions that include adopting the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) plan upon transferring Jones Park to the County. The proposed changes will not change the purpose of the conservation easement, or access for hikers and cyclists balanced with the threatened trout. A limit on motorized use is included in the NEPA plan (still to be finalized). El Paso County has said they have no intention of expanding that use.

Once the conservation easement is in place, Jones Park will be protected forever as a favorite, wild place for the public. 

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Friday, December 5, 2014

A walk in the park? Maybe not.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 5:14 PM

North Cheyenne Canon after last year's floods. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • North Cheyenne Canon after last year's floods.

Planning on heading into the great outdoors? You'll probably want to read this first.

The good news is that Federal Emergency Management money is finally being put to use in some of our open space areas to fix flood damage. The bad news is, that means access to some favorite areas will be limited or cut off. Contractors begin their work Dec. 8 and it will continue for 8 to 12 weeks.

Read on for the details:


FEMA flood repair construction projects to begin next week in several Colorado Springs Parks

Colorado Springs, CO – The City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services will continue repair work on numerous locations in parks which sustained significant damages during the September 2013 floods.

Contractors will begin the repair projects on December 8 and continue for the next 8-12 weeks (weather dependent). The FEMA flood damage projects will cost approximately $515,000 and are funded through the FEMA Public Assistance grant.

Repairs will include slope stabilization, roadway repair, and drainage improvements to repair the flood damage sites.

Construction will take place in the following locations:

Mount Cutler Trail

The Mount Cutler Trail will be closed during construction work on weekdays and reopen for hikers on weekends only during the project. Alternative trails: the Columbine Trail, Silver Cascade Falls Trail at Helen Hunt Falls, the Chamberlain Trail, and Stratton Open Space.

North Cheyenne Cañon Road in North Cheyenne Cañon Park

Park users may encounter lane closures as contractors repair various sections of the flood-damaged roadway.

Bear Creek Road in Bear Creek Cañon Park

Park users may encounter lane closures as contractors repair various sections of the flood-damaged roadway.

High Drive

Repair work will take place along the entire 3.5 mile stretch of High Drive. The work will include erosion repair, culvert replacement, and overall drainage improvements. Access to the Palmer Trail, Bear Creek Trail (USFS Trail #666) and the Captain Jack’s Trail will remain open to the public. Recreational users on High Drive may encounter construction equipment throughout the project. Dog owners are strongly encouraged to keep their pets are on leash at all times.

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