NewsCovering Colorado


Windstorm aftermath warning: be cautious in open space parks

Logs and stumps from windstorm cleanup
Posted at 11:00 AM, Dec 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-18 13:00:30-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — There is a warning to be careful this weekend as people venture outside. Clean-up from the destructive windstorm continues, and downed trees along with debris may pose hazards in local parks and open spaces.

Along the midland trail, a section near 26th Street now has massive logs and stumps on either side of the popular urban trail. A day earlier the trail was completely blocked by a tree toppled during the windstorm. It became a priority, yet abbreviated project, for crews with Colorado Springs Parks. "Really pushing trees out of the way, cutting areas between large trees like you see here in order to keep trail movement going,” said Colorado Springs Parks Regional Manager, Scott Abbott. “Then we'll come back secondarily and try to clean up a lot of the debris."

"We want people to be extremely careful over these next few weeks," said Abbott. A lot of work is still ahead for crews with parks. They are prioritizing, with safety hazards getting top priority.

Knowing that all issues have been found is difficult in locations like open space parks. "The public can help us because we know we have ultra-users out there and we know folks are going to be along their favorite trails and in their favorite park,” said Abbott, “So, we really encourage folks to report downed trees you see across trails."

A phone call works, but reports through the GoCOS app are proving better. "We've seen a lot of great adoption in the community of using the GOCOS app," said Colorado Springs Community Engagement Specialist, Jason Anderson. The day after the windstorm nearly 120 downed trees were reported through the app.

It is also likely some think an issue they have spotted has already been reported. Anderson said to not assume a downed tree has been reported. It is better to get multiple reports than have something missed.

When citizens use the app to report non-emergency situations it keeps call-takers free to deal the most urgent situations.

Information that arrives through the app is also easily converted into helpful information. For example, maps can be created showing areas with the most damage.

windstorm hot zone map
Map showing areas with downed treed in Colorado Springs

"We can be a lot more targeted and strategic about putting our city resources to work to help our community," said Anderson. From most smart phones a report can include a picture and GPS coordinates which are helpful for pinpointing locations in areas like open space parks.