COLORADO SPRINGS — The summer rainy season in Southern Colorado is reason for caution on local public lands. “Significant weather changes of any type impact our trail system and they also impact how you should use the trail system,” said Colorado Springs Senior Trail Ranger, Gillian Rossi.
From late June through much of July, late afternoon downpours are common in the Pikes Peak region. The heavy run-off can be damaging and cause safety issues. “The trail that you bike every single day could suddenly have a giant pile of debris on it,” said Rossi.
It can also cause erosion that may start as minor but get worse with subsequent storms. “Significant rainfall does impact areas that are already experiencing erosion.”
It also increases the likelihood of trail damage. “Muddy trails are considered non-durable surfaces and if we’re following Leave No Trace principle #2, which is travel on durable surfaces, you want to avoid those as much as possible, said Rossi.”
Trail users are an important part of the solution. “We’re an enormous city geographically and it’s really difficult to cover all of the 200 square miles of this city,” said City of Colorado Springs, Community Engagement Specialist, Jacob Anderson. People using trails can help by reporting issues caused by rain damage.
The city developed the GOCOS app to make reporting issues simple and quick. “It’s a great way to see a problem, report the problem, get it addressed,” said Anderson, “Rather than trying to think about what city department handles this kind of thing or remember when I get home to call somebody.”
Someone who has downloaded the app on their smartphone can snap a picture, fill in a brief description of the issue, and submit the information from where they found the damage. Most phones will send coordinates so crews can find the location that needs attention.
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