Lance Benzel

Out There Reporter

Lance Benzel reports on outdoor recreation along with feature stories - occasionally dipping into hard news. Benzel is a former courts reporter at The Gazette.
  • Peak Patch provides commemorative gear, helps 14er upkeep in Colorado

    Updated: Thu, Jul 16, 2015

    For one Vail startup, the path to success depends on a peak bagger's pride - and her sense of responsibility. Peak Patch, a two-person company that sells chevron patches, magnets and stickers commemorating each of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, has pledged 14 percent of its proceeds...

  • Colorado Springs-area ministry with horses helps heal women parolees

    Updated: Sun, Jul 12, 2015

    The trio of horses at Freedom to Victory Ranch in Green Mountain Falls aren't exactly renowned for their pedigree, but for a ministry that works to mend fractured lives of women parolees, that may work in their favor. There's Shauspa, a 33-year-old Arab quarter horse with a fearsome...

  • Wet spring means a stunning landscape for Crested Butte Wildflower Festival

    Updated: Sun, Jul 12, 2015

    The wildflowers of Crested Butte are ablaze. The scenic mountain town less than four hours west of Colorado Springs - which credibly bills itself as the state's wildflower capital - is welcoming visitors to witness the annual pageantry of summer blooms in the fullness of their...

  • Portions of historic Colorado Springs-area trail expected to be gone soon

    Updated: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    There were slips and scratches, leaps of faith over "disagreeable fissures" and occasional collisions between man and mule. Traveling the 1873 Bear Creek Trail - thought to be the first improved road to Pikes Peak's 14,115-foot summit - was by no means a pleasure cruise, but a...

  • Rider in Residence: Colorado Springs trail reroutes offer pros, cons for mountain biking

    Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    What about Cap'n Jacks? Of all the questions surrounding changes to Bear Creek trails, mountain bikers are mostly likely to lose sleep over this one, and it's little wonder. Filled with sculpted berms, whoop-de-doos, kickers and sudden drops - plus enough of Pikes Peak's eroded...

  • Colorado Springs conservation group touts massive protection effort near Pueblo

    Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    Palmer Land Trust, a Colorado Springs-based conservation group, has finalized a conservation easement that will permanently protect a sprawling ranch east of Pueblo. At 25,000 acres, or 39 square miles, the BX Ranch property is considered a vital stretch of native Colorado grassland....

  • Deadly shooting in Pike National Forest creates gun debate

    Updated: Wed, Jul 8, 2015

    The fatal shooting of a 60-year-old camper in Pike National Forest last week has prompted new scrutiny of lax enforcement on public lands. Only two law enforcement officers patrol the 1.1 million-acre Pike National Forest, where Glenn Martin was shot at a campsite north of Woodland...

  • Red Rock Canyon Open Space set to reopen; popular Colorado Springs fountain closed

    Updated: Fri, Jul 3, 2015

    The flood-battered Red Rock Canyon Open Space will reopen Friday, a little more than six weeks after it was closed for repairs amid record rainfall, city officials said Thursday. Repairs to trails, roads and other features have addressed most of the city's safety concerns, though...

  • Whitewater rafting conditions in Colorado 'as good as it gets' even with some areas closed

    Updated: Thu, Jun 25, 2015

    Stew Pappenfort perused the data on a recent morning and wondered if the Arkansas River was about to reach its peak. After weeks of high water, a single heat wave could melt what's left of Colorado's banner snowpack in the Arkansas River Valley, potentially pushing the churning river...

  • State grant will help complete trail around downtown Colorado Springs

    Updated: Wed, Jun 24, 2015

    A $1 million state grant will be awarded to Colorado Springs to complete its long-sought Legacy Loop trail around downtown. Great Outdoors Colorado, or GOCO, announced the award Tuesday in a news release. It is among 37 GOCO grants approved Tuesday that will be distributed statewide....

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