Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

How you can volunteer to give Colorado Springs parks, trails some TLC

By Susan Davies Special to The Gazette - Updated: April 24, 2014 at 5:53 am 0

Most of us don't spend a lot of time admiring well-designed trails. And while these trails can last for decades, all of them can use a little love from time to time.

This is a great time of year to pick a park or open space and find a project. Going online to check out openspacevolunteers.org is a good way to start.

Parks and open spaces such as Palmer, Blodgett Peak, North Cheyenne Canon, Red Rock Canyon and Garden of the Gods need volunteers for projects scheduled within the next few months. Popular trails such as Barr, Seven Bridges and Intemann also require assistance.

These parks and trails have something in common in that they're fortunate enough to have groups of people willing to lead and manage ongoing maintenance efforts. The groups of "friends" typically are quite eager to assist volunteers in finding a suitable project.

Let's say you'd like to help build a trail. Then mark June 1 on your calendar and celebrate National Trails Day in perfect fashion. A new trail will be constructed in what we once called Section 16 but is now part of Red Rock Canyon Open Space. The plan is to construct the trail near the Gold Camp Road trailhead to accommodate hikers, cyclists and equestrians.

No experience? No problem. Trained crew leaders will make sure you learn how to safely use the tools provided. You'll work hard, get dirty and might be a bit sore the next day. But I promise you that hiking or cycling a stretch of trail that you maintained or built is something special. Why else would we have 20-plus "friends" groups in the area with members who've worked on local trails for years?

Some volunteers relish the chance to pick up tools and pound dirt. Others simply are determined to leave these familiar spaces the way they found them. Whatever the reason for helping, their devotion saves city, county and state parks hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in this region alone.

There's definitely a lopper, McLeod or Pulaski with your name on it if you have a few hours to spare.

Also, if you want to help with Waldo Canyon fire restoration efforts, visit waldofire.com, where you can find a list of projects in the months, and even years, ahead.

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Davies is the executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition. Read her columns on the fourth Thursday of each month in Out There.

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