First, the good news: Palmer Park has reopened, though many of its trails suffered severe damage in this month's floods, and repair work is needed.
Now the bad news: Other popular outdoor spots were so damaged that they remain closed. Among notable shut-off areas: North Cheyenne Cañon Park (pictured), including Lower Gold Camp Road and High Drive; a portion of the South Greenway Trail near Circle Drive and the Sinton Trail; and the trails and playground at Black Forest Regional Park. Many other have been severely damaged, so caution is urged.
The city estimates its damages to parks and trails at $6.5 million, and it's seeking federal help. It's not yet clear when some areas will reopen, though Karen Palus, the city's director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, states in an email, "We are opening things as quickly as we can."
She says "friends" groups are doing smaller jobs while city crews focus on big ones: "For example, the Guardians of Palmer Park had 114 people in the Park on Saturday the day we reopened to the public and they began making minor trails repairs, filling in areas, removing debris and general maintenance."
Meanwhile, Tim Wolken, Community Services director for El Paso County, says the county is also identifying problems and working with partner agencies and volunteers to fix them. Major damage came not only to Black Forest Regional Park, but to Bear Creek Regional Park, the Ute Pass Regional Trail, the Fountain Creek Regional Trail and Rainbow Falls Recreation Area.
Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, has been taking down names of volunteers to call upon as area projects get underway. Go to openspacevolunteers.org to add your name.