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.
Active Projects and Resources
- Santa Fe Open Space
- Bear Creek Regional Park Restroom
- Jones Park Master Plan
- Ute Pass Regional Trail: Phase Two
- Ute Pass Regional Trail: Phase One
- Santa Fe Open Space Master Plan (Coming Soon)
- Widefield Community Park Master Plan
- Fountain Creek Regional Park Master Plan
- Black Forest Regional Park Trails Project
- Master Plans
- Resources and Documents
This open space is not yet open to the public. The grand opening is tentatively scheduled for late summer/early fall 2021!
In May of 2017, El Paso County purchased 65 acres of pristine upland ranchland on the southern slopes of Ben Lomand Mountain, near Palmer Lake, Colorado. Covered in thick stands of scrub oak, mature ponderosa pine trees, and rolling grass meadows, the property was purchased with the intention of transforming it into a natural open space that would provide users of the adjacent New Santa Fe Regional Trail an opportunity to experience a more natural foothills environment in close vicinity to urbanized areas and major trailheads.
The Santa Fe Open Space Master Plan will provide El Paso County Parks a roadmap for future improvements to the open space. The proposed Phase I Improvements will include:
- A 2,300’ 4’-8’ wide Tier I/III trail will be constructed along the southern border of the open space, providing visitors an opportunity to leave the New Santa Fe Regional Trail for approximately 2/3 of a mile, allowing for a short tour of the Santa Fe Open Space, without the need for formal hiking equipment or experience.
- Approximately 5,950 feet of Tier IV singletrack multi-use trails will be constructed throughout the central and northern portions of the open space. These trails will allow users to choose between a series of stacked loops, which will meander over hills and valleys and offer outstanding views of the southern Front Range.
- Two small information kiosks will be installed at each end of the trail network to allow for map displays and other information regarding the use of the open space. Entrance and trail marker signage will be installed throughout the open space.
The public review of the Master Plan concluded in February 2021, with overwhelming support from individual citizens, governmental agencies, and outdoor advocacy groups alike. The El Paso County Park Advisory Board unanimously endorsed the Plan at their February 2021 meeting, while the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the Plan at their March 30, 2021 meeting.
The Master Plan is available to download in Adobe PDF format.
Questions or comments? Please contact Ross Williams, El Paso County Community Services Park Planner via email at email@example.com . Thank you!
Bear Creek Restroom Replacement
El Paso County Parks identified the replacement of the restroom building in the 2014 park master plan. The new restroom will feature expanded restroom facilities and storage, improved ADA access, and will utilize energy efficient materials and touchless fixtures. The design of the new restroom is currently under development and will be finalized by December 2020. Demolition and construction are scheduled for spring 2021 with construction completed by June 2021. During construction portable restrooms will be provided for public use. The overall construction budget for the restroom is $448,000 and is being funded by $310,000 from the conservation trust fund, $63,000 from ballot initiative 1A, and $75,000 from regional park fees. For more information, please contact Jason Meyer, El Paso County Parks Planning Supervisor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Open House Meeting Materials:
- Ute Pass Phase One Concept Plan
- Ute Pass Phase One Roadway Section Renderings
- Ute Pass Phase One Typical Sections
Widefield Community Park is a 50.5-acre linear park situated along the banks of Crews Gulch in the unincorporated community of Widefield and just north of the City of Fountain. The park is owned and operated by El Paso County and includes such features as McCrae Reservoir, an 18-basket disc golf course, playground, basketball courts, and a multi-use athletic field with baseball backstop. The Crews Gulch Regional Trail winds through the park where it travels south to Ceresa Park, Fountain Creek Regional Park, and the Fountain Creek Regional Trail.
The park was acquired, planned, and built originally in the early 1970s. El Paso County Parks has completed the Master Plan update for Widefield Community Park to address not only the current state of the park, but to gather public input to effectively plan for future improvements. In October 2016 El Paso County Parks asked for citizen input to update the master plan, encouraging citizens to first participate in a community-wide online survey. The survey questions addressed favorite features of the park, satisfaction with existing facilities and maintenance, and what additional renovations and/or improvements the community would suggest. The survey results can be found in the master plan.
After the completion and analysis of the survey in mid-October 2016, citizens were invited to participate in the first of two public meetings which took place at Talbot Elementary School on October 20. The October meeting presented the results of the online survey and information about the park, and Parks staff asked for further input from the public. The second public meeting took place on February 9, 2017, where Parks staff presented the findings of all public and stakeholder input, master plan goals, as well as the proposed recommended future improvements for Widefield Community Park. On February 10, the public was invited to download and review the draft Master Plan for a period of three weeks, ending February 28. The Master Plan was presented to the Park Advisory Board for endorsement on March 8, and the Board of County Commissioners approved the final Master Plan on March 30.
Now that the Master Plan has been completed, expect to see numerous improvements to Widefield Community Park during 2017 and 2018.
Fountain Creek Regional Park is a 390-acre linear park situated along the banks of Fountain Creek between the cities of Colorado Springs and Fountain. The park is owned and operated by El Paso County. It includes a creek-side regional trail, Willow Springs Ponds, Hanson Nature Park, and the Fountain Creek Nature Center, the latter of which serves as the focal point for learning about Fountain Creek, the watershed, and riparian ecology. Farther south, the Duckwood active use area consists of a 12 acre site with multi-purpose athletic fields, picnic pavilions, basketball court, and a playground.
The park was acquired and built originally in the late 1980s. A planning process is underway to develop a master plan for Fountain Creek Regional Park to address not only the current state of the park, but to gather public input to effectively plan for future improvements. Beginning in mid-December 2015, El Paso County Parks asked for citizen input to develop the master plan for Fountain Creek Regional Park through participation in a community-wide online survey. The survey results can be found in the Fountain Creek Regional Park Master Plan. The survey questions addressed favorite features of the park, satisfaction with existing facilities and maintenance, and what additional improvements the community would suggest.
Shortly after the completion and analysis of the survey in mid-January, 2016, citizens were invited to participate in two public meetings which took place at Fountain Creek Nature Center on the evenings of January 27 and April 28. The meetings presented the results of the online survey, master plan goals, site analysis, concept designs, and site-specific improvement plans. At each meeting the public was asked to submit comments regarding various aspects of the plan. The meeting results can be found in the Fountain Creek Regional Park Master Plan. On April 29, 2016, the draft master plan was made available to the public for download and review. Comments were submitted, and the Master Plan was revised into the Park Advisory Board Draft Master Plan which was endorsed by the Board at their June 8 meeting. The Master Plan was presented to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners for final approval at their June 28 meeting. The first improvements, funded by Ballot Question 1A funds and regional park fees, will begin in the summer and fall of 2016.
The trails within Black Forest Regional Park sustained significant damages from the Black Forest Fire and post-fire flooding. Numerous sections were damaged beyond repair, are now prone to flooding, or traverse through severely charred areas within the park. El Paso County Parks launched an update to the trails plan portion of the Black Forest Regional Park Master Plan to identify sections of trail for repair, re-route and/or closure in 2017.
El Paso County Parks completed a site inventory/analysis in May, 2017. The analysis was used to inform the development of 4 draft trail concepts for further consideration. As part of the process, a project team and stakeholder group were established to provide input and support the County with the trails plan update. A public meeting was held on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 to provide an opportunity for public review. The Draft plan was then presented to the El Paso County Parks Advisory Board on August 9, 2017 and approved by Board of County Commissioners on September 5, 2017. A copy of the final master plan update can be found here: Black Forest Regional Park Master Plan Update
El Paso County Parks completed a solicitation for professional trail building services in January, 2018 with trail construction near the active use area scheduled for completion in spring, 2018. For more information about the Black Forest Regional Park Master Plan Update, please contact Jason Meyer, Project Manager, at (719)520-6985, or via email at JasonMeyer@elpasoco.com
- 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
- 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