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COSMBA: Building out trails for mountain biking

Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-24 18:59:06-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The newly formed Colorado Springs Mountain Bike Association, or COSMBA, is making strides in its goal to maintain and lengthen one of the most technical mountain biking trails on city properties.

According to the group's website, "COSMBA exists to cultivate a community of mountain bikers actively championing the development of diverse trail experiences which highlight and preserve the natural beauty of the Pikes Peak region."

Keith Thompson, the executive director for COSMBA, reports that while the group may be "brand new" officially, trail-building efforts in collaboration with Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation started in 2022; during the past year, the group tallied up seven work days that involved 55 volunteers and accounted for nearly 400 hours of trail building and maintenance.

The primary focus for this avid mountain biking and trail-building crew has been the construction and maintenance of the Black Sheep Trail in Pulpit Rock Park; one of the most technical mountain biking trails on city properties.

"They have been kind of helping us plan and layout the master plan designated trail that is a bike-only, directional trail that is on the south side of Pulpit Rock," commented Mark Tatro, a park ranger for Colorado Springs, "and they have been really the driving force behind getting this bike-only trail."

Thompson says that COSMBA's current momentum started by approaching Parks and Recreation about the possibility of gathering up a group of volunteers to help build out a trail they felt hadn't received too much attention.

"We knew that this trail existed in the master plan but there was no real effort towards building it."

Upon approval, Thompson's crew of mountain bikers got to work, "The opportunity to come dig it ourselves and get our hands dirty," said Thompson, "was something that we couldn't pass up."

Since that point, the group has moved past a loose coalition of volunteers and now operates with a board of directors and is in the process of securing its 501(c)(3) status, something they hope to have finished within the next three months.

Thompson also indicated that COSMBA would take a hand in other projects on the horizon, specifically citing upcoming work in Blodgett Open Space and North Cheyenne Canon Park; however, the primary focus, for now, remains at Black Sheep trail.

"I want to say it's somewhere between half and three-quarters of a mile," stated Tatro, "and I think we'll add another third of a mile and that will get it to where the master plan has it listed."

COSMBA is hoping that, over the course of their work, they can get more and more residents involved in outdoor and public lands stewardship, "All of that really has to be done by citizens who are engaged," stated Thompson, "and the only way to get them engaged is to bring them out and make those opportunities available."

To learn more about COSMBA, click here.