Parks Planning in the Community Services Department provides professional planning, landscape architecture, and project management services. The focus is on parks, trails and open space planning and support of the annual Capital Improvement Program. Staff also provides development review comments to ensure conformance with the El Paso County Parks Master Plan, and provides expertise in long-range planning for El Paso County and regional collaborative initiatives.
The El Paso County Parks Master Plan (Master Plan) is a guiding document that works with other County plans to strategize and provide outdoor recreation opportunities such as parks and trails, long term protection of open space, and historic and cultural resources interpretation. The Master Plan is an element of the County’s comprehensive plan (statutory master plan) used by the Community Services Department, Development Services (Planning) Department, Park Advisory Board, Planning Commission, and the Board of County Commissioners to ensure that new development proposals conform and contribute to a cohesive system of parks, trails, and open space.
The Master Plan update process was designed to comprehensively address the needs of parks, trails, open space, and recreation and cultural services throughout El Paso County in a strategic way. The Master Plan endeavors to provide a sustainable approach to allocation of resources for the next five to ten years. The process reaffirms essential goals and objectives of the previous Master Plan, while incorporating needed changes and new ideas based on input by stakeholders and analysis of data. The Master Plan will guide the County’s efforts to continue to provide a high quality of parks, recreation, and natural, historical, and cultural interpretation services that are valued by citizens.
Utilizing the 2013 plan, existing County planning documents, and the accomplishments to date as a starting point, the project team guided the development of a public input process which included online engagement opportunities and an online survey. It has been imperative, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, that meaningful community participation in the preparation of the Plan occur and that substantial opportunities for citizen participation in the planning process have been provided. The goal of each was validating elements that exist within the plan and making updates where appropriate. This planning effort includes a comparative analysis of four (4) comparable counties in Colorado to provide benchmarking comparisons. The comparative analysis includes data on acreage relative to population, cost relative to population, and funding mechanisms to acquire and care for these lands. In general, this update process resulted in similar conclusions to the 2013 process, determining that the criteria and much of the plan are still in line with community wants and needs.
Master Plan Maps
The Homestead Ranch Regional Park Master Plan is now approved and available here. The Master Plan provides guidance for the next seven to ten years for capital improvements, construction of open space amenities, implementation of educational programs, and operations and maintenance.
Located at the edge of Black Forest this 458-acre regional park has diverse topography ranging from rolling, open meadows to tree-covered bluffs running the length of the park. A natural spring-fed pond and creek in the central valley of the park attracts deer, coyotes, foxes, fishing, and over 35 types of waterfowl and birds. The park includes a playground, a playing field and picnic pavilions. Equestrian riders can water their horses at the trough while enjoying over 5 miles of trails throughout
The Master Plan is available to download in Adobe PDF format.
Bear Creek Restroom Replacement
El Paso County Parks identified the replacement of the restroom building in the 2014 park master plan. The new restroom features expanded restroom facilities and storage, improved ADA access, and uses energy-efficient materials and touchless fixtures. Tremmel Design Group (TDG) completed the final design in December 2020. Raine Building was contracted for complete demolition and construction in April 2021. Demolition and preconstruction tasks were completed in 2021. Construction was completed in October 2022.
Jones Park Master Plan
In 2015, the City of Colorado Springs conveyed Jones Park to El Paso County. Jones Park is approximately 1,200 acres and is located within the Bear Creek Watershed and surrounded by United States Forest Service land. The remoteness along with beautiful stands of aspen trees, mature conifer forests, and mountainous terrain has made Jones Park popular for multiple outdoor recreation pursuits. Jones Park is also home to the federally threatened Greenback Cutthroat Trout.
El Paso County contracted with Altitude Land Consultants to complete a Master Plan for Jones Park. This Master Plan will comprehensively outline existing conditions, community interests, and will recommend long term sustainability and conservation of the open space, wildlife habitat, historic and cultural resources, and recreational opportunities within Jones Park. The Master Plan process has included a community survey and multiple public meetings. The Master Plan will help ensure a successful roadmap for the future operation of Jones Park.
The Master Plan is being developed in accordance with the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration / Environmental Assessment, US Forest Service Bear Creek Watershed Project / Final Decision, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion, El Paso County Parks standards, and the Jones Park Conservation Easement (held by the Palmer Land Conservancy).
Developing and implementing the Jones Park Master Plan will reinforce the County’s commitment to providing a balanced approach when addressing community recreational needs, while providing responsible land stewardship and asset management.
Please find below a link to the Jones Park Master Plan draft and a survey link for public comment regarding the draft plan. The survey will be open for public comment through December 23, 2020.
Master Plan Process
Ute Pass Regional Trail Phase Two
El Paso County is developing Phase II of the Ute Pass Regional Trail (Project), located in the Cascade – Chipita Park area of the County. The Project is consistent with the overall master plan for Ute Pass Trail prepared by the El Paso County and is a continuation of the Phase I which terminated at Winnemucca Road and Chipita Park Road. The trail will be approximately 1.6 miles in total length, which includes: 1.4 miles on the south side of Chipita Park Road and Fountain Avenue between Winnemucca Road and Spring Street and 0.2 miles between Spring Street and West US 24. El Paso County plans to construct a 6-foot wide concrete multiuse trail with curb and gutter at the edge of roadway. The project also includes ADA compliant ramps at intersections and a signalized pedestrian crossing. The project transitions from the south side to the north side of the roadway approximately 20 feet prior to the stop sign where Chipita Park Road and Pikes Peak Highway. At this location, a cross walk with flashing beacons is proposed for pedestrian safety. The project also includes a trailhead consisting of five gravel parking spots and trail signage at the CDOT maintenance yard on Spring Street. The trail will continue through the Spring Street CDOT yard running parallel to Fountain Creek where it then connects to the intersection of US 24 and Fountain Avenue.
For more information, please contact Jason Meyer, El Paso County Parks Planning Supervisor at 719-520-6985, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ute Pass Regional Trail is a planned 40-mile trail that will eventually connect Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek in Teller County. The trail is part of the American Discovery Trail and the America the Beautiful Trail. The trail will help to preserve the rich Ute Pass history that includes the Ute Indians using the historic trail for their pilgrimages, and later, explorers gold seekers and settlers seeking the easiest passage to points west through the mountains.
The first section of the El Paso County’s Ute Pass Regional Trail was constructed in 2003, connecting the Ute Pass Elementary School with the Town of Green Mountain Falls to allow safe passage for students. In 2006, a second section was completed connecting the Town of Green Mountain Falls to the Teller County line. Green Mountain Falls later provided an on-road trail through the community that links the two sections.
El Paso County received a State Trails Grant for construction of a 3-mile portion of the trail east of Longs Ranch Road, with a turn-around interpretive loop to return hikers to the Manitou Springs area. Construction of this section was completed in the Fall of 2014. The last section of the trail will connect the interpretive loop trail to the Ute Pass Elementary School. A State Trails Planning Grant was received for this segment, and the Ute Pass Regional Trail Master Plan was completed in 2015. A copy of the final master plan can be found here: Ute Pass Master Plan (2015)
El Paso County received a State Trails Grant for construction of a 0.66-mile portion of the trail in the Cascade-Chipita Park neighborhood in 2017. Specifically, this project includes construction of a trail within County right-of-way along Chipita Park Road between Ute Pass Elementary School and Winnemucca Road. This project will provide the only pedestrian accommodation along this corridor, increase safe access to the elementary school, and provide pedestrian accommodations at several intersections. Final design and construction is anticipated in 2018.
Ute Pass Regional Trail Design Project Open House
El Paso County Parks held a public open house to view design plans for a 0.60-mile segment of the Ute Pass Regional Trail between Ute Pass Elementary School and Winnemucca Road. The open house was held on Wednesday, August 29, 2018, at Ute Pass Elementary School, 9230 Chipita Park Road, Cascade, CO 80809. Project maps and design drawings were displayed for public viewing. Key design elements include; paved walkway within County right-of-way with raised curb; roadside shoulder and safety improvements; no signification impacts to driveways or retaining walls is anticipated. Final design is anticipated in September, 2018. Construction between Ute Pass Elementary School and Winnemucca Road is anticipated to begin in 2018. For more information, please contact Jason Meyer, El Paso County Community Services Department Project Manager II at 719-520-6985, or via email at email@example.com
Open House Meeting Materials:
- Ute Pass Phase One Concept Plan
- Ute Pass Phase One Roadway Section Renderings
- Ute Pass Phase One Typical Sections
- El Paso County Parks Master Plan Update (2022)
- El Paso County Parks Asset Management Plan (2022)
- El Paso County Parks Master Plan (2013)
- Bear Creek Regional Park Master Plan
- Bear Creek Dog Park Master Plan
- Black Forest Regional Park Master Plan
- Black Forest Regional Park Master Plan Update
- Falcon Regional Park Master Plan
- Fox Run Regional Park Master Plan (UPDATE)
- Fountain Creek Regional Park Master Plan
- Homestead Ranch Regional Park Master Plan
- Kane Ranch Open Space Master Plan
- Paint Mines Interpretive Park Management Plan
- Pineries Open Space Master Plan
- Rainbow Falls Historic Site Master Plan
- Santa Fe Open Space Master Plan
- Stratmoor Valley Trailhead Park Master Plan
- Ute Pass Regional Trail Master Plan
- Widefield Community Park Master Plan