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In a report issued Nov. 10, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis released a report on the effect outdoor recreation has on the economy.  According to the report, outdoor recreation made up 2.1 percent — $459.8 billion — of the national Gross Domestic Product in 2019.…

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As a first-of-its-kind initiative in a Colorado state park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park (CMSP) has created a volunteer Trail and Bike Ambassador Program. With the goal of increasing visitor safety, education and enjoyment of the park, the members of the program serve as additional "eyes and…

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Eleven Mile State Park, one of the more remote in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife system, is known mostly for its boating and fishing opportunities on the Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoir that makes up most of the park. You can  get a feel for what life is like at the park in this podcast with p…

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One of the most contentious issues in Colorado Springs in recent years has been the issue of trading city-owned parkland for privately owned land. Brought on by the controversial "Strawberry Fields" land swap with the Broadmoor Hotel, the effort to change the city charter to make it more dif…

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The inaugural running of the Pikes Peak APEX bike race, a four-day, one-of-a-kind event, will kick off next Thursday, Sept. 24. The event will take place in all or parts of several local parks and also on popular trails on the outskirts of Colorado Springs, and may affect the plans of the ou…

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Browns Creek Falls, in the San Isabel National Forest south of Buena Vista and across the Arkansas River from Browns Canyon National Monument, is a fun little hike. Prior to doing this hike earlier this week, I last did it about 6 years ago. Other than maybe the parking lot being a little mo…

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Colorado Highway 165 starts in the town of Colorado City and winds its way through the Wet Mountains and the San Isabel National Forest, before ending at Colorado Highway 96, about 20 miles from the town of Westcliffe.  A Colorado Scenic Byway, the road lives up to its designation, with stan…

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This hike combines a couple of trails to put together a nice little loop.  Located south west of the town of Fairplay in Park County, the trailhead is about 88 miles from the west end of Colorado Springs, an easy drive. Well, except for the last 8 miles, which frankly, suck. Ok, it's not a h…

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Rocky Mountain National Park, just outside of the small town of Estes Park, is one of the most popular national parks in the country, in a typical year drawing millions of visitors to experience its breathtaking vistas, wildlife sightings and, of course, hiking and mountain climbing opportunities.

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One of the things I aim to do with this column is to highlight places to go that you might not be aware of. While most of us who engage in outdoor recreation are familiar with the Colorado State Parks in the Pikes Peak Region (Cheyenne Mountain, Mueller, Castlewood Canyon and Lake Pueblo, fo…

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For me, the area around Grand Junction was for years my equivalent to what politicians refer to as "fly-over" states.  It was one of those places I would try to pass by as quickly as possible while on my way to places further west, such as Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, near Moab, Ut…

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El Paso County's newest park, the Pineries Open Space, is likely to become a prime attraction for hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians when it opens on June 27.  Located in Black Forest on Vollmer Road just north of Shoup Road, the tract of land started out in 2010 as a proposed 389-lot…

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In last week's column, I featured a hike that is rather difficult and definitely not for everyone.  This week, I'll turn that around 180 degrees and feature a few fairly easy hikes that almost any hiker can do. As a bonus, these are all pretty close to Colorado Springs, not very well known, …

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Eighteen years ago this coming Monday, June 8, the Hayman Fire, the largest wildfire in Colorado's recorded history, started near Lake George. For 10 days, the fire burned its way north and east through the Pike National Forest, destroying more than 138,000 acres of forest land. The fire was…

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There is no doubt that no matter what your personal feelings are about the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place for several months, they have really been a downer as far a outdoor recreation goes.  But, restrictions are loosening up, so it's time to start featuring places to hike again.

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Pikes Peak - America's Mountain announced on May 15, 2020, that the U.S. Forest Service approved a detour for Barr Trail hikers to the summit of Pikes Peak, effective from May 16 to July 31, 2020, according to a news release from the City of Colorado Springs. Access to the top of Pikes Peak …

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Just in time for Colorado Public Lands Day, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced on March 14, 2020 the acquisition of 19,200 acres of ranch land that will become Fishers Peak State Park, near Trinidad, Colorado.  CPW entered into an agreement with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the city of…

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In an announcement made late Friday, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission said that it decided on April 30 that "A valid hunting or fishing license will be required for everyone 18 or older attempting to access any State Wildlife Area or State Trust Land leased by Colorado Parks and Wi…

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Although Colorado is transitioning from "Stay at Home" to "Safer at Home," there are still plenty of restrictions in place. Some of the state's smaller mountain counties are still asking — even outright mandating — that non-residents to stay away while they cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Oth…

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 "Stay-at-home"  and "safer-at-home" orders during the COVID-19 crisis include exceptions for outdoor recreation, but even those exceptions have, well, exceptions. Some parks or trails may be closed, or one agency's land may be closed while another agency's facilities may be open. Misinforma…

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It took a bit of hard searching to find something good about what's happening during the COVID-19 crisis — and trust me, it was very hard —  and what I found is that lots of people are discovering or rediscovering the great outdoors. Multitudes of users are descending on our trails and parks…

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I'll start this week's column with this caveat: The crisis with COVID-19 is certainly the most pressing issue in the country right now.  Many are out of jobs, many are sick, and the worst is yet to come. I get it. I'll admit to my own varying levels of anxiety over all this, and the 24-hour …