The Friends of Cheyenne Cañon are highly respected around the region. Not only do they help maintain trails in North Cheyenne Cañon but their members, supporters and partners have raised tens of thousands of dollars and accomplished important projects in the park.

Their latest initiative is borderline brilliant.

For years Mike and Amanda Bristol have supported the Friends by brewing their Cheyenne Cañon Piñon Nut Brown Ale as one of their “Community Ales” series. All profits go to FOCC.

Because it’s a great cause (and a delicious beer), I’ve consumed a number of pints over the years and perhaps you have, too.

The Friends decided to allow the imbibers to weigh in on how the money should be spent. Last year, beer drinkers voted to build a new stretch of trail, which is now in place (it extends the Upper Columbine Trail up to the Gold Camp Road intersection).

Projects up for vote this year are:

• Preservation: Repair historic structures in the park

• Education: Install high-speed internet at the visitor centers

• Trails: Trail maintenance on Mt. Cutler Trail

Why I think this is really smart: not only are they connecting participants to priority projects and allowing them to choose, but they are “educating” the public on critical needs in one of the city’s oldest parks.

The land was purchased from Colorado College and turned into a city park in 1885. Then Gen. William Palmer expanded the park when he donated 480 acres in 1907.

There are indeed historic structures in need of repair. Even old parks benefit from high-speed internet for emergency calls and communicating with volunteer crews and park rangers. And with crumbly Pikes Peak granite throughout the park, trail maintenance is an ongoing challenge.

Which project matters most to you? Vote with your pocketbook and deliciously support one of the jewels of the region. Voting continues at Bristol Brewing Co., 1604 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, through June 30.

Susan Davies is executive director of the 30-year-old Trails and Open Space Coalition. Send any questions and comments to

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