Trail Talk: Think of trails as Election Day nears

October 23, 2014 Updated: October 23, 2014 at 4:10 am
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photo - Susan Davies - Trail Talk
Susan Davies - Trail Talk 

Voting isn't an aerobic activity, but choices next month at the ballot box could have an impact on some of your favorite aerobic pastimes.

Let's start with 1A, which is being backed by the Trails and Open Space Coalition. If it passes, trails throughout El Paso County will be improved. Two examples are Black Forest Regional Park, where trails were damaged by fire and floods, and Ute Regional Trail, where a final segment has yet to be completed. Then there's Falcon, one of the faster growing areas in the county but a locale void of a regional park. If 1A passes, plans to build a park there will commence. That park eventually would contain trails.

All of these projects are part of 1A and don't involve a tax increase. This is an opportunity to do something great for county trails, parks, nature centers and open spaces.

Now let's turn to 1B. What does stormwater have to do with trails? More than you might expect. Think about the locations of some of your favorite trails - Pikes Peak Greenway, Cottonwood Creek Trail, Sand Creek Trail and Manitou Springs Creek Trail. Improved stormwater control will lessen damage to these trails. That means fewer closures and less required maintenance. Also, when stormwater crews make improvements or perform maintenance, city parks and streets often will use those opportunities to piggyback on the project, share the cost and make adjacent trail improvements.

Also, when infrastructure is created to improve stream flow, trails often are part of the plans. Investing in stormwater projects means communities receive more and improved trails at a reduced cost.

As you decide how you'll vote, keep trails in mind.

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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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