The Trails and Open Space Coalition works with individuals, business, and foundations to improve health equity for all citizens, by: advocating for additional parks and open spaces in developing areas where residents currently have no access; connecting neighborhoods through trail completion and activation; assisting neighbors in advocating for restoration of neglected neighborhood parks; and educating the public about the need to take care of our public spaces—what the needs are, how parks are funded, and what must be done in order to get adequate funding for them.
Trails System Completion & Open Space Creation
The Trails and Open Space Coalition works on behalf of its members and the community to increase dedicated parks and open space and to effectively advocate for the connection of the trail networks in the Pike Peak Region. Studies have shown that our population are considered “super-users” of trails. Trails are associated with higher property value, increased physical activity and improved public health. The Ring the Peak Trail will bring adventure tourism and increased opportunity for recreation in the mountains, and the Legacy Loop Trail will connect neighborhoods within the City, and make it possible for people to get around the urban core on foot or by bike.
Parks Funding and Community Outreach
There are major gaps in the parks budget. The last figure made available by the parks department showed $180+ million in unfunded capital projects. However, there is a lack of public understanding about how parks, trails and open spaces are paid for and maintained, which is a barrier for making the case for increasing funding. With a TOPS extension and expansion planned for spring of 2021, the Trails and Open Space Coalition is embarking on an engagement campaign about why our citizens value parks. Why do parks matter to you? What should the City do to ensure that parks are properly maintained? What can citizens do to help?
Stewardship & Engaging Recreational Experiences
The budget for parks and trails is smaller now than it was seven years ago, and with the increase in costs, particularly with building trails and structures, there isn’t enough to go around. TOSC helps bridge the gap by getting citizens involved. Bike rides and hikes show citizens what we have and why it’s important. TOSC maintains a calendar of all the volunteer events offered in the region for parks, trails and open spaces, supporting the Friends Groups and the properties, and gives the public a one-stop experience when considering volunteer work in our parks. TOSC helps Friends Groups with organizing, building boards, outreach and fundraising to increase their impacts, and is the fiscal sponsor for Friends of Ute Valley Park, Friends of Boulder Park, and Creek Week. Bike Colorado Springs aims to improve bicycle infrastructure, teach safe bicycling habits, and promotes bike riding in all of its forms; making bike riding in the Pikes Peak region a safe form of recreation and transportation for all.