Embracing change

· 4 min read

This article originally appeared in the North Springs Edition

The word of the day is change. Not the nick­els, dimes and quar­ters rolling around in your car’s con­sole kind of change. Nope. This use of the word would be the embrace change kind of change.

Some people embrace change, many do not and would rather res­ist change. Change can be neg­at­ive, but pos­it­ive too. But here I will identify good change for you to know about, that you could help with, or may in fact already be involved in.

First up is an announce­ment of a change in the park ranger that will over­see the Trails, Open Space and Parks por­tion of Ute Val­ley Park. The new ranger is Jacob Reta. Jacob is excited about this oppor­tun­ity and very eager to learn about the park prop­erty. He has plans to ini­ti­ate a few volun­teer projects for the fall. Jacob recently shared with the Friends of Ute Val­ley Park this note….

“Howdy, my name is Jacob. I am ori­gin­ally from Las Cruces, New Mex­ico. I am Tigua Pueblo from the vil­lage of Tor­tu­gas. I obtained my degree from New Mex­ico State Uni­versity in the field of Fish­er­ies, Wild­life and Con­ser­va­tion Eco­logy. I enjoy being out­doors whether it is hunt­ing, fish­ing, hik­ing, or camp­ing. I love to teach about nat­ural resources with both the west­ern learn­ing and deep-rooted tra­di­tional ways that come from my tribe. I like to have my trusty steed Bailey (dog) by my side whenever I go out on the trails. I am super excited to be part of a team that has so much poten­tial in bet­ter­ing the nat­ural areas we strive to man­age and pro­tect.”

The FUVP says wel­come Jacob, and we look for­ward to your efforts and guid­ance in the park.

The volun­teer work ses­sions ini­ti­ated by the FUVP from April through Septem­ber have suc­cess­fully ended for this year. Now we change over to mon­it­or­ing the park through the fall and winter and will con­duct our plan­ning to determ­ine what improve­ments and changes will come about next year. Volun­teer sup­port stayed strong again this year and we will tally the res­ults and share them in this space soon. There will also be a recog­ni­tion event to thank the many volun­teers that stepped up to help with a vari­ety of projects.

Another change headed our way comes from the city. They have not reques­ted a fund­ing increase for Trails, Open Space and Parks for 24 years. That change will appear in the form of a min­is­cule increase asked of tax­pay­ers on the elec­tion bal­lot headed our way in early Octo­ber. The pop­u­la­tion growth in Col­or­ado Springs, and the over­whelm­ing pur­suit of out­door recre­ation dur­ing the pan­demic, has sig­ni­fic­antly increased the activ­ity in our parks and open spaces. Chances are good by your read­ing in this space you enjoy and appre­ci­ate Ute Val­ley Park and Open space. So, I encour­age you to look for your bal­lot and hope­fully show sup­port to this effort to allow Col­or­ado Springs to secure adequate open­space and con­tinue to provide well-main­tained parks and trails throughout the city.

Another change being reques­ted by the city is to allow $20 mil­lion from a TABOR reten­tion and be des­ig­nated from this year’s funds and go towards a city­wide fire mit­ig­a­tion project. With the local eco­nomy doing well the city occa­sion­ally col­lects more rev­en­ues than it was des­ig­nated for in a year. In that instance, it can be allowed to let the city keep those funds to ded­ic­ate to spe­cific projects.

The City of Col­or­ado Springs is in a pos­i­tion this year to ask voters to des­ig­nate this year’s funds to go toward city­wide fire mit­ig­a­tion projects. On the bal­lot this will be Issue 2D, and if approved by voters, it doubles the size of neigh­bor­hood chip­ping pro­grams to help keep our homes and neigh­bor­hoods safe. We have cer­tainly exper­i­enced a very smokey sum­mer here in Col­or­ado Springs due to smoke pen­et­rat­ing our atmo­sphere from fires else­where. So much so that smoke and haze have been included in reg­u­lar weather fore­casts. This effort to improve safety would allow us to catch up on 3,500 back­logged acres of mit­ig­a­tion. Plus, it would help to expand the mit­ig­a­tion pro­grams capa­city of fire risk reduc­tion from 2,000 acres up to 7,000 acres annu­ally.

Sev­eral changes may be com­ing but they are all good changes with the poten­tial to sig­ni­fic­antly improve the qual­ity-of-life aspect to users of Ute Val­ley Park and throughout neigh­bor­hoods and parks around the Pikes Peak Region.