outdoor recreation

Tyler Hill / KRCC

A new study outlines the economic benefits of parks and recreation in the Pikes Peak region.  Parks help lower public health costs, raise property values, and attract tourism dollars, according to the study.

Miguel Vieira / FLICKR-Creative Commons

Cheyenne Mountain State Park reopened on Thursday after high winds earlier this week forced its closure.

Maeve Conran / Connecting the Drops

About three years ago, flood waters rushed down the Big Thompson River through Estes Park and eastward to Loveland, destroying whole stretches of the river channel and adjoining roads. That flood echoed a similar one 40 years ago that killed 144 people, destroyed countless homes and decimated the riverbed. Now, roads are being repaired and the eco-system is slowly recovering. That recovery is crucial for the economy of local communities.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

President Barack Obama recently signed a new law that could benefit Colorado hiking trails.

The new National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act calls for a national strategy to utilize partnerships for trail maintenance.

Studies show that youth spend less than ten minutes a day outside in unstructured play.  In an effort to combat this national issue, Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded roughly $13 million in grants to communities across the state, to encourage children to appreciate, enjoy and take care of the great outdoors.

The Inspire Initiative, launched last year with six pilot projects, ties into the state plan of having every resident within a ten-minute walk or bike ride to a park or open space within a generation.

Greg Smith / Flickr

As the city works to stabilize the Sand Creek stormwater channel, engineers are looking for creative ways to make the structures even more useful. One idea is to create a trail for fat bikes. Those have particularly wide tires that can traverse sand and leave little impact.

Kate Dunn / 91.5 KRCC

The Manitou Incline is reopening to the public. The Incline closed in August for the second phase of its Trail Enhancement Project.

Lloyd Athearn / Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, via Facebook

The peak of another Colorado 14er may soon become public land. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) intends to buy three parcels of land extending over the peak of Mount Shavano near Salida. The move comes after the discovery of mining claims which means the land is currently privately owned.  

Bob Wick, BLM California / BLM Flickr / Creative Commons

Visitors of Browns Canyon in Chaffee County are invited to share their opinions of the National Monument in a series of listening sessions.

Dana Cronin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado is known for its iconic 14,000-foot peaks, more commonly known as fourteeners. Despite their majestic appearance, these high peaks have a fragile ecosystem and it takes a considerable amount of effort to keep them in good condition.  The season is over now, but for about five months of the year, crews work to create and repair trails.

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

A new mobile app looks to incentivize users to help out the environment.

The app, called YourCO, will allow users to log do-it-yourself conservation projects, such as picking up trash or turning down the thermostat, and earn badges and rewards along the way.

Holly Pretsky / KRCC

Hundreds of cyclists passed through southeast Colorado this past weekend for the fifth annual Pedal the Plains ride.

courtesy Pedal the Plains

The fifth annual Pedal the Plains bike ride is set to begin Friday in Ordway. The three-day 150-mile ride will take place in the Lower Arkansas River Valley this year, passing through Ordway, Fowler and La Junta.

Holly Pretsky

Starting today, June 20th, almost 300 libraries across the state will offer backpacks for checkout through a new program called "Check Out State Parks."

Dennis McKinney / CO Division of Wildlife

Colorado could be the next state to allow hunters to wear florescent pink. A Democratic proposal to give hunters the option of wearing pink, in addition to orange, passed the Republican controlled Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee on Thursday.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

An avalanche killed a snowmobiler near Wolf Creek Pass earlier this week. With the recent snows, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center says there's increased avalanche danger.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Governor John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday that the state will prioritize connecting and building 16 hiking and biking trails in all parts of Colorado. The goal is to connect and build missing trail segments to make it easier for people to access open space and parks.

It's part of the governor's Colorado the Beautiful initiative, unveiled in 2015.

Colorado Springs

Voters overwhelmingly decided to allow Colorado Springs to retain $2.1 million in excess revenue to repair and improve eight stretches of trail throughout the city.
 

The targeted trails include Shooks Run, Skyline, and the Sand Creek Trails.

Karen Palus, head of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said the improvements will include trail resurfacing and increased signage. Palus also said they’ll try to minimize the impacts to trail users.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Camping fees for Colorado Parks and Wildlife are going up to help keep up with rising maintenance and utility costs. 

The fee increase will be anywhere from $2-$10 a night depending on the campsite, with the exception of primitive campsites that don't have electrical outlets or restrooms nearby.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Manda Walters says even with the added cost, she doesn't see visitor numbers dropping.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado is well known for its outdoor recreation offerings, but Governor John Hickenlooper wants to take it to the next level by making it even easier for people to access open space and parks. Over the summer he unveiled the Colorado the Beautiful Initiative and more recently a $100 million pledge to create and connect bike trails. 

Tom Koerner/USFWS / Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Interior decided on Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans eleven western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope.  The population is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state. Governor John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird.  He sat down with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland to talk about the decision and other initiatives.

Interview Highlights

Tuesday Newscast, 9/22/15, 6:04 PM

Sep 22, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 6:04 PM:

Greg Owens / National Park Service

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison just became Colorado’s first International Dark Sky certified National Park, and the ninth in the nation. The Western Slope park was recognized for its exceptional night sky views, as well as its efforts to preserve those views and educate people about the value of a dark night sky.
 

Ranger Nick Myers leads the astronomy program at the park. He says they’ve worked to reduce bright lights that can drown out the stars.

Friday Newscast, 8/14/15, 5:32 PM

Aug 14, 2015

Newscast for Friday, 8/14/15, 5:32 PM:

  • Officials in Colorado have reopened the Animas River to boating.
     
  • A lieutenant colonel at Fort Carson faces a court-martial on charges of viewing child pornography on a government computer while in Afghanistan.
     
  • A recent report from Colorado State University says if Great Plains farmers adopt more conservation practices, their carbon emissions could be drastically reduced.

Shelf Road Climbing Area Amenities Under Review

Jul 30, 2015

More campsites, restrooms, and parking areas could come to the Shelf Road Climbing Area near Canon City under a new proposal.
 

The Bureau of Land Management estimates the area sees 42,000 more visitors yearly than when the two campgrounds were originally constructed in the mid-90's.

The BLM's Kalem Lenard says they've been receiving complaints about not enough facilities. He also says lack of parking space is becoming an issue.

Devils Head Fire Tower Recreaction Areas Closed

Jul 23, 2015

High winds have caused the closure of some recreational areas on National Forest land in Douglas County.

The Devils Head Fire Tower, campground, trailhead, and picnic area were closed after a blowdown occurred in the South Platte Ranger District of Pike National Forest.

The historic fire Tower is the only original Front Range lookout tower still in use today.

The damaged area covers around six acres of aspen, spruce, and Douglas-fir trees. Crews are assessing damages and working to remove fallen trees and dangerous snags from the area.

Bob Wick, BLM California / BLM Flickr / Creative Commons

A last-minute change to an indoor venue due to stormy weather couldn't keep folks away from a dedication ceremony Saturday for Colorado's newest National Monument.  Supporters gathered in bleachers at the Buena Vista High School gym to hear from local, state, and federal officials as they celebrated the designation.
 

The nearly 22,000-acres of public land that stretches from Buena Vista to Salida in Chaffee County along the Arkansas River is well known for its recreation and wildlife. 

High Water Levels Prompt State Park Restrictions

Jun 18, 2015

Record-breaking rains leading to high water levels have prompted Colorado Parks and Wildlife to restrict access in some recreational areas. 

Boat ramps, shoreline access points and parking areas are limited at Lake Pueblo State Park. The department isn’t sure when they’ll reopen.

Near Lake George, the South Platte River is running usually high, resulting in the closure of Spinney Mountain State Park’s river access lot. The department is discouraging fishing along many areas of the river.

Shooks Run Planning Kicks Off With Meeting

Jun 17, 2015

The City of Colorado Springs is looking at the future of Shooks Run, a corridor located east of downtown between Fountain Creek and Patty Jewett Golf Course. 

The first of several public workshops takes place on Thursday, kicking off a 16-month collaborative planning process called Envision Shooks Run. 

The project will create a plan to address issues like drainage, multi-modal transportation, and urban planning to help improve infrastructure and enhance the corridor.

A series of workshops this month looks to discuss the future of bicycling in Colorado Springs.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.

The forums will help update the Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan, which lays out a ten-year strategy for the improvement of bicycling conditions in the city.

Brian Shevock is the Bicycle Coordinator for the city. He says his biggest challenge is the spread out nature of Colorado Springs.

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