Supplement Feature - April 2008
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Room to Live

Outfitting Your Parks to Provide Space for All

By Emily Tipping

Any park that features trails needs to take people's need to stop and rest along the way into consideration, and the North Cheyenne Cańon Park Master Plan does just that:

Various locations along trails have particular points of interest. Pedestrians tend to stop in these areas to sight-see and relax before continuing their hike. These areas need to define a gathering space and provide informal seating. These locations are also ideal for informative signage describing the significance, etc., of the particular focal point.

The plan goes on to identify "acceptable informal seating techniques," from simple rounded timber logs with timber supports to post/rail seating and seating that uses the flat surface of a split log.

The plan further identifies picnic areas as the most heavily used spaces in the park. "It is important that they are properly defined within the natural setting. Picnic areas typically have the most site amenities, so it is important that materials, colors, etc., be consistent throughout the canyon."

Picnic areas within the park are delineated to provide each area with a sense of space and privacy, as well as to keep picnic areas from spilling out into parking areas, trails and roadways. The plan defines delineation devices that not only serve these purposes, but also help hide unsightly elements from view, including barbecue grills and picnic table pedestals.

The park's existing single pedestal tables were identified as not fitting in as well with the rustic theme of the park, and measures were suggested to help remediate this problem. These included moving the tables to urban parks "where the contemporary style is more appropriate," as well as ordering tables in stock brown metal color or painting the metal legs brown when maintenance is required.

Trash receptacles are also specified in the plan, and their placement within picnic areas as well as at all parking areas, pull-offs and in other high-traffic areas is recommended. The plan stipulates that the cans be painted with dark brown enamel, and repainted on a regular basis to keep up a clean appearance.

Throughout Colorado Springs, residents can take advantage of trails for walking, biking, horseback riding and other activities, with 105 miles of urban trails and 160 miles of park trails to choose from. For all trails, the city tries to include these amenities: signage with informational, interpretive and regulatory messages; picnic tables, benches and landscaping; trailheads with parking and signage where needed; and compliance with ADA requirements.