The Pikes Peak region ranks regularly among the highest on lists of cities with great parks and open spaces along the Front Range, and among the lowest in terms of funding for those assets. As a result, citizens have taken the initiative, and have formed Friends Groups for most of the parks and open spaces in the region. These all-volunteer groups often lack the skills necessary to be sustainable and perform at a high level. The Trails and Open Space Coalition has taken on the creation, fostering and development of these groups as a means to ensure that parks, trails and open spaces get some of the funding and maintenance that the City can’t provide. In the spring we work with partners to train volunteer crew leaders for work projects. In the late summer and early fall, we provide trainings on organizational skills for sustainable groups.
The Trails and Open Space Coalition has been actively fostering Friends Groups for the last ten years, since the City of Colorado Springs approached our organization with a request to provide a volunteer calendar for the region. In recent years, we have helped form new groups, trained individuals in some skills on a request basis, and continued our Crew Leader Trainings annually. In 2019 we’ve taken on a new Program Coordinator and an enhanced role with SuperFriends, the regional collaborative of Friends Groups. The Trails and Open Space Coalition will be responsible for conducting educational trainings twice a year, which will give us the opportunity to engage with Friends Groups from throughout the region.