In 2003, the vision for the Colorado Front Range Trail (CFRT) was introduced by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). At 876-miles, and spanning 15 cities and 14 counties, the CFRT will connect communities along Colorado’s front range from Wyoming to New Mexico. While several communities throughout Colorado have completed segments of the CFRT, many gaps remain.
Since its formation in 2009, one of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District’s primary goals has been to close the CFRT gap between Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The first step in achieving this goal was completed in 2011, when the District completed the Fountain Creek Corridor Restoration Master Plan. The focus of the Master Plan was identifying creek restoration and rehabilitation projects, as well as preliminary alignments for the CFRT, and seeking opportunities to incorporate trail design and construction with creek restoration or other recreation projects. This effort was hugely successful as several trail and parks projects that were identified in the Master Plan have been completed in the City of Colorado Springs, City of Fountain, El Paso County, Pueblo County and the City of Pueblo. This includes the CFRT through Clear Springs Ranch.
The effort to close additional gaps in the CFRT received a boost when, in 2015, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper unveiled the Colorado the Beautiful Initiative. The initiative identified the CFRT as one of the top 16 priority regional trail connections in Colorado, making it eligible for prioritized funding through Great Outdoors Colorado’s (GOCO) Connect Initiative.
The District has now taken the next step in closing the largest gaps of the CFRT from Colorado Springs to Pueblo. After partnering and receiving grant funding from GOCO and CPW, the District has begun an effort to identify a detailed alignment for the CFRT called the Fountain Creek Greenway Master Plan. Coordinating with land trusts, private property owners and government agencies, the Master Plan will explore sustainable trail alignment opportunities and alternatives through the Fountain Creek Corridor. The plan will also seek to promote stewardship as a part of the larger goal of protecting the Fountain Creek Corridor.
The Master Plan effort was tentatively scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020 with a yet to be determined Phase 1 Design Project to follow. Given social gathering restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that the project schedule will be extended until spring 2021.