Colorado Springs adds Urban Park Rangers in hopes of safer, cleaner trails

· Dec. 27, 2023, 4:00 am
Colorado Springs now has Urban Trail Rangers to patrol trails, keep tabs on the city's camping ban, and respond to complaints. Patrols began this fall.Colorado Springs now has Urban Trail Rangers to patrol trails, keep tabs on the city's camping ban, and respond to complaints. Patrols began this fall.Courtesy of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services
Colorado Springs now has Urban Trail Rangers to patrol trails, keep tabs on the city's camping ban, and respond to complaints. Patrols began this fall.

Colorado Springs now has Urban Trail Rangers to patrol trails, keep tabs on the city's camping ban, and respond to complaints. Patrols began this fall. The team has two vehicles but also uses bicycles and foot patrols. They are not armed. 

The rangers focus on the Pikes Peak Greenway and Midland trails, patrolling during busy morning and weekend hours, but can also attend to issues throughout the entire parks system. Colorado Springs has more than 100 miles of urban trails, according to the city.

There are currently three rangers on staff. Hiring for a fourth is ongoing. They fall under the purview of the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department. Director Britt Haley said the city is working through the necessary steps to give the rangers regulatory authority to write tickets for trespassing and similar violations. 

The purpose, she said, is "to have a member of our department who represents education, stewardship, information providing, and a response if there needs to be any kind of intervention."

 It's already happening in some open spaces, "it's just a little different in the urban context," Haley added. 

Other duties include making sure there is adequate signage and identifying places along the trails that are in need of maintenance. Another aspect is building relationships with trail users and monitoring the city's unhoused population, many of whom frequent Colorado Springs' urban trails. 

"In the downtown area specifically, we've worked extremely close with the police department, the fire department, and our partners at neighborhood services, along with a handful of nonprofits to create a united presence in these corridors," said Scott Abbott, Regional Parks, Trails and Open Space Manager in a video shared with KRCC. "We're out there working diligently…to create an environment that's welcoming for everyone."

Officials said the team is modeled after several others along the Front Range, including in Denver and Boulder.

"We understand that our urban trail corridor holds a high recreational value, whether it's providing transportation for people who commute or our avid user group that recreates along these trails," Abbott said, adding that the city thinks the team will provide "a lot more focus and a friendly face."

The $446,000 program was outlined in the city's general fund budget for 2023 and is continued in next year's financial plans.
Problems on trails can be reported on the City of Colorado Springs GoCOS! contact page or the GoCOS! App.

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