COLORADO SPRINGS — Private land purchased by the city of Colorado Springs makes way for the expansion of Cheyenne Mountain State Park. It adds 163 acres to the 2,700 acres of open space park. It is a relatively small area very important to a bigger plan.
"It's like putting a big puzzle together," said Trails and Open Space Coalition, Executive Director, Susan Davies. This single piece of what’s called the Rock Creek addition, is an example of strategic planning when acquiring land.
Park planners look for land with unique qualities. "Some important habitat or a trail opportunity or something the public would really benefit from." said Colorado Springs Parks and Cultural Services, TOPS Program Manager Britt Haley. For example, this land adds the only waterway to the park and the habitat it supports.
The land is also a significant link in another public lands project. "It allows us to think about the right trail alignment for the Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Trail., which would be a 29-mile trail around the base of Cheyenne Mountain," said Haley. The trail could be on-line within four to five years. "That trails going to be amazing,” said Davies.
Colorado Springs City Council just gave final approval for $1.3 million to purchase the Rock Creek land. Approval now has to happen at a state level. There is a collaboration at Cheyenne Mountain State Park were the city owns land with the state operating and maintaining the park.