NewsCovering Colorado


More rangers coming to Colorado Springs trails to help address safety concerns

Homeless encampments have plagued areas of urban corridor prompting safety concerns among trail users.
Posted at 6:36 AM, Jul 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-27 20:20:25-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Efforts to clean up Colorado Springs' trails and help them feel safer, will get a bit of a boost in the fall as new city park rangers start their patrols.

The plan is to hire four new park rangers who will be out patrolling hot spots for complaints about homeless camps and will work closely with the other departments to find a solution.

"I think it's any of the underpasses you have to go under. I just get a little more nervous." Michelle Grey’s concerns shared city-wide is seen in the increasing number of complaints that are coming into the city about loiters and the homeless.

Piles of trash, clothing, and personal belongings can be found all along the Pikes Peak Greenway trail. Homeless encampments have plagued areas of urban corridors prompting safety concerns among trail users.

Starting in September, more rangers will be out patrolling Colorado Springs trails. Park Maintenance and Operations Division Manager, Eric Becker says, “It’s a very complex issue. We’ve heard the concerns and I believe the presence of the ranger will make a big difference.”

The new ranger program received $446,000 out of the city's general fund during 2023 to get started and cover staff and two new vehicles, according to the city budget. Sales taxes support the city's general fund, typically used for core city services.

The teams of rangers will patrol when parks are busiest. "We will have one senior ranger and three rangers - ones that we're in the process of hiring. They will patrol in teams of two with a concentration on the Midland and Greenway trails. Those seem to be the biggest concern at this time," explains Becker.

The amount of unhoused in Colorado Springs is a widespread issue. In fact, Mayor Yemi Mobalde has made addressing homelessness, street outreach, and more affordable housing an immediate mission of his. Park rangers are an added piece to this bigger puzzle. They will work closely with CSPD, the city's Homeless Outreach Team, and neighborhood services. They also rely on reports from citizens.

Rangers will have back up if needed, and will increase enforcement when necessary but like Becker says, “Our presence of the trails. That’s key. We will be there to help with any requests from folk out here, but just being here will make a difference.” adding a level of security that will likely bring many users to our uniqueness of the downtown corridor.

To report problems on trails, visit the City of Colorado Springs GoCOS! contact page or use the GoCOS! App.


Homelessness falls 10 percent in Colorado Springs according to new survey

Earlier this year, the annual Pikes Peak Continuum of Care's Point in Time Survey reported a 10% drop since last year in the total number of people experiencing homelessness in Colorado Springs. The 1,302 people counted as homeless in the January survey represent the smallest population in Colorado Springs since 2016.

Evan Caster, Senior Manager of Homeless Initiatives for Community Health Partnership, explained that Colorado Springs holds its survey annually because many partner agencies value the data collected. He notes the drop in the homeless population coincides with record numbers of people finding permanent housing.

While the data show encouraging trends, Caster notes the survey also captured an increase in the number of people living on the streets, rather than in shelters.


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