Why it's important
We want to hear from you! The Outdoor Pikes Peak Initiative will only be successful with your involvement. There are a number of ways for you to share what’s important to you and any concerns you have. Sign up for OPPI E-News, attend a listening session, or email your feedback directly to the team!
Didn’t have a chance to provide feedback yet? Here’s your opportunity!
Your feedback on this survey will help inform planning for the Pikes Peak region’s conservation and outdoor recreation future. The options for many of the questions come directly from feedback already received through recent community listening sessions, but please feel free to write in your own response using the OTHER option when available. The survey will likely take 5-7 minutes.
The survey will close on March 31, 2023.
Join us for either an in-person or virtual community listening session to learn about OPPI and share your thoughts about what’s important to you regarding the outdoors. This is a great opportunity to share your viewpoints and help craft the future of our local outdoor recreation and conservation!
This is our individual response forms with prompts that will be used to guide conversation for the in person sessions, they will then aid in the group response work. If you are attending virtually but would like to share your responses, please email your form to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pikes Peak region’s iconic landscapes and abundant recreation opportunities contribute significantly to quality of life and economic vitality. However, unprecedented front-range growth threatens both natural resources and recreational experiences. Not designed for sustained high use, outdoor infrastructure such as campgrounds and trailheads are overrun and insufficient for the demand. The challenges we were seeing before the pandemic have been greatly magnified now and the need for planning for our future has never been more important.
PPORA has focused on these issues and the need for planning over the last several years, launching the Pikes Peak Sustainable Recreation & Tourism Initiative, that included an objective of finding a collaborative planning grant to move the initiative forward.
Such a timely opportunity arose and the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance (PPORA) was selected as a Colorado Outdoor Regional Partner through the Colorado Outdoor Partnership to advance recreation and conservation planning for the Pikes Peak region in 2021. The Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnership is funded jointly through Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado and was developed to ensure that our state remains a world- class destination for outdoor recreation while preserving our land, water, wildlife, and quality of life.
The Regional Partnership goal: working to ensure that Colorado’s public and private lands, waters, wildlife and communities thrive while providing for equitable access and quality outdoor recreation experiences.
This multi-phased planning initiative seeks to bring together people, information, and innovative ideas to collaboratively address this region’s recreation and conservation needs and aspirations for today and the future, while also tackling the obstacles to implementation.
The Pikes Peak region’s people and economy thrive through our united efforts to ensure the resiliency of the region’s public lands, water, wildlife, working farms and ranches, as well as sustainable world class outdoor recreation opportunities for all.
*For these purposes, the Pikes Peak region is loosely defined as El Paso County, Teller County, and Fremont County.
To collaboratively identify and advance priorities and innovative strategies to ensure the resiliency and improvement of our natural and recreational values for the Pikes Peak region’s future.
Our mission is accomplished through the convening, collaboration, and empowerment of outdoor interests across sectors.
To fully understand the Outdoor Pikes Peak Initiative, read through our core values and the principles that guide this effort. They can be found at the button below.
We have identified a number of goals for this Initiative, outlined below. We are at various stages of each of these, with the overall goal of completing them by the summer of 2024.
Convene a broad-based coalition or “Task Force” of cross-sector outdoor stakeholders to work collaboratively, engage through their insights and expertise, and champion the effort. Stakeholders represent local land managers, outdoor conservation and stewardship organizations, outdoor businesses, sportsmen and outdoor recreation advocacy or user groups, working ranches, tourism, etc.
Create and maintain a dynamic Outdoor Pikes Peak Data Hub as a communication tool that informs the planning effort, outdoor leaders, and the community with socio-economic, natural resource, and recreation and tourism information.
Develop a multi-layer mapping tool comprised of geographically-based data on natural resource and outdoor recreation data from credible sources to better inform planning. The purpose of the map is to identify and map both conservation and recreation data such as sensitive wildlife habitat, climate resilient areas, and existing recreational assets and amenities to help identify areas where trail and recreation development may be more or less suitable and areas where additional conservation efforts would be beneficial.
Evaluate past planning efforts, goals, and outcomes specific to the Pikes Peak region, with a deeper dive into those dealing with Pikes Peak massif and surrounding areas.
Invite and assess the needs and aspirations of land managers, stakeholders, and the general public as it relates to the preservation and use of the Pikes Peak region’s outdoor spaces.
Recommend a revised or alternative management and funding strategy specific to Pikes Peak massif and the immediate area, where high use and impacts are overwhelming land managers and impacting both natural resources and recreation opportunities.
Identify recreation and conservation priorities and the key projects that support those priorities across the Pikes Peak region.
Identify desirable and critical natural resource and habitat areas within the Pikes Peak region where additional conservation efforts would be beneficial.
Identify areas for potential opportunities for improved recreational amenities and capacity in the Pikes Peak region.
Create a sustainable recreation and conservation vision plan across three counties that
- Incorporates all of the above goals
- Serves as a unifying vision for preserving and improving the natural qualities and recreation opportunities of the Pikes Peak region
- Inspires stakeholders and the community alike
- Builds on the collaborative work that went before it
- Provides alignment and a platform for advancing priority projects
- Leads to sustainable partnerships that leverage limited financial resources across the public, private, and not-for-profit arenas
PPORA raised up a Task Force of local stakeholders with varying perspectives across recreation and conservation to provide perspective, expertise, and leadership. The PPORA Advisory Council serves as an additional layer of perspective in the planning process. We also established two key partnerships for executing the first phase: the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) and the Colorado Tourism Office. We have engaged in the professional planning services of local consultants, N.E.S. Inc., to provide strategic support and expertise in this important planning process. During the second phase, a significant emphasis is on public engagement to learn from diverse perspectives and experiences to inform the process and help flesh out conservation and recreation priorities. We have hired Bachman PR to help facilitate the public engagement during this second phase.
The Initiative is currently broken into two phases: the first phase has completed and the second phase, a two-year period, is underway. To learn components of each phase, click on each one below.
- Creation of Task Force of Key Stakeholders
- Creation of Outdoor Pikes Peak Data Hub
- Review of Existing Planning Documents
- Land Manager and Stakeholder Needs/Aspiration Assessments
- Evaluation of Creative Management Models & Solutions
- Refining of Phase One Data into Meaningful Summaries, Graphics, Metrics, and Dashboards
- Creation of Multi-layer Map of Region’s Natural & Recreation Data
– Bringing priority GIS data into a single map on Data Hub
- Public Engagement
– In multiple formats with refined approach for each county
– Consisting of one-on-one discussions, surveys, open houses both online/virtual and in-person
- Recommendation of creative management solutions that fit our region
– Specific to highest need/most challenging areas
– Incorporating land manager and stakeholder identified needs
- Drafting and Finalizing of Vision Plan
- Plan Endorsement/Adoption
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
We may not have answered their question but please feel free to reach out to share any additional questions.
OPPI is an acronym for Outdoor Pikes Peak Initiative – the name for this project. It is a part of the Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative, which encompasses coalitions from other regions across Colorado who are doing similar work. The Colorado Outdoor Partnership (CO-OP) started this Initiative as a way to empower local Colorado communities to determine and plan for their unique conservation and recreation priorities that will eventually inform a statewide plan. The CO-OP launched this effort in 2021, following authorization from Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance (PPORA) was selected as the convener for this region’s Regional Partnership.
The Pikes Peak region’s iconic landscapes and abundant recreation opportunities contribute significantly to quality of life and economic vitality. However, unprecedented front-range growth threatens both natural resources and recreational experiences. Not designed for the high use they are getting, outdoor infrastructure such as bathrooms, parking, trash receptacles, campgrounds, etc. are overrun and insufficient. Under-resourced land managers do their best with existing staff and funding to address these impacts and recreational planning needs, but management is an uphill battle.
Without a large-scope singular plan, thoughtful management, and adequate funding – the negative impacts from this increased use on the popular areas overwhelms the land managers for whom recreation is only one of many priorities. Their efforts then become necessarily focused on enforcement and mitigation from impacts rather than future-looking development of amenities in underutilized areas that would disperse recreation, providing the experience the public wants, while balancing the preservation and protection of our special places.
Recreation is not evenly distributed throughout the Pikes Peak region. Cities along the urban core, like Colorado Springs, are experiencing the Front Range challenges of balancing high use and impacts while some rural areas, such as Cripple Creek and Victor, are eager to develop recreation as an economic driver and develop recreation assets that could disperse recreation and create unique outdoor experiences for the public.
The challenges we were seeing before the pandemic have been greatly magnified now and the need for planning for our future has never been more important or urgent. The projections for growth along the Front Range and particularly Colorado Springs is significant. Colorado is expected to add 1.5 million new residents by 2030, and Colorado Springs is expected to be Colorado’s largest city by 2050. These new residents are coming for many reasons, but listed consistently at the top is the region’s quality of life and recreational opportunities.
What this means is more people, more outdoor usage, different types of usage and expectation, and a greater need to work together. This initiative seeks to create a pathway of balance between preservation and recreation. The urgency of the need is met with State resources that we’ve never seen before through the new Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative. We need to engage now through this statewide planning, as it is our best opportunity to effect change and plan for our future, with financial resources, tools, best practice sharing, and public private partnerships.
This plan takes a balanced approach to looking at the future – being neither a “conservation only” plan nor a “recreation only” plan. It is a thoughtful approach to bring all of the available, credible data to the table along with stakeholders, land managers, and the public to “to ensure the resiliency of the region’s public lands, water, wildlife, working farms and ranches, as well as sustainable world class outdoor recreation opportunities for all.”
There are 100+ plans within the Pikes Peak region that address components of conservation or outdoor recreation that have been completed over the years and are in some stage of implementation. These are great plans and still relevant in many ways. In fact, Phase One of this process included procuring and evaluating these plans, along with interviewing land managers with responsibilities for the plans, to better understand their priorities, challenges, and aspirations. All of these plans will be brought into the Outdoor Pikes Peak Data Hub – never before have all of these plans been available to the public in one place!
In addition to the land manager evaluations, those plans relating more closely to the smaller Area of Interest will serve as a building block to this Plan, to create one overall strategy for all entities to work together.
One other significant difference is that this Plan and Initiative has the support, commitment, confidence, and collaboration through its connection to the Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative which was authorized by Governor Jared Polis, launched through the Colorado Outdoor Partnership, and funded jointly through Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado. Outdoor projects submitted to these entities will use the Plan to help determine alignment and community values as part of their evaluation. The Initiative is also connected to other regional partners and their plans across the state to inform a Statewide Conservation, Recreation, and Climate Resilience Plan by 2026.
Elevate the Peak is a planning process that completed in 2022. It was a collaborative effort of outdoor nonprofit organizations in the Pikes Peak region, facilitated by Palmer Land Conservancy. This high-level vision plan is the culmination of stakeholder interviews, public surveys, an economic impact review, and focus groups from the leaders of under-resourced communities. The resulting imperatives and strategies were designed “to inform current and future land conservation and outdoor recreation efforts in the Pikes Peak region.” We intend for it to do just that!
Elevate’s strong emphasis on hearing from local communities that are traditionally under represented in the outdoors makes it a particularly valuable complement to OPPI and building block on which to build this Plan. Ensuring that the findings from Elevate and other planning efforts inform OPPI and take it to the next step is key. See the “Goals” section of this web page to learn specific goals to be achieved by this Initiative.
Our planning effort is focused on Pikes Peak and the treasured natural resources and recreation “sheds” that extend down to the surrounding communities, including portions of El Paso, Teller, Fremont, and Douglas counties. Chapters of the Plan will more broadly encompass El Paso, Teller, and Fremont counties, such as a compilation of what we hear from listening sessions and the distilled priorities for both conservation and recreation.
A “deeper dive” focus for other Plan chapters, including existing plan document analysis and innovative management models, will drill down to a smaller area of focus that encompasses Pikes Peak and its area is not constrained by jurisdictional or geopolitical boundaries but rather inclusive of ecosystems and defined by established recreation areas. This focus area expands upon the footprint of the 1999 Pikes Peak Multi-Use Plan to include the majority of the Pikes Peak Ranger District. The northern boundary captures a small portion of Douglas County. The west boundary extends to Teller/Park county line. The south boundary captures portions of Fremont County. The east boundary is defined by the edge of the developed urban areas and the base of the foothills.
We definitely want to hear from you! We have scheduled Community Listening Sessions for the week of January 23, 2023 in a number of communities across the region. You can attend these in person (recommended) for the best engagement with the information, planning team and Task Force, and other community members. Another option is virtual events which are available immediately following the in person sessions. We also welcome feedback directly to the OPPI project team (see Get Involved section on this web page) and plan to have a Survey available there as well. We suggest that you sign up for our OPPI E-News to stay in the loop on developments and future ways to connect!
We want to know how you value and use the Pikes Peak region’s outdoors and what you want the future to look like. We want to know your aspirations, concerns, and priorities when it comes to our natural environment and special places, as well as what would improve your recreational/outdoor experience. We want to know your ideas on how to increase funding needed to maintain our existing outdoors as well as future upgrades.
Yes! All of the above. Through community listening sessions and surveys, we want to know what matters to you – be it trails, types of outdoor use, the need to preserve special places, using your neighborhood park, etc. All of your input is valuable and will be added to other sources of information to help inform the Plan.
The Plan itself is a landscape-level view of the region, however, and will not drill down to the level of adding infrastructure to your local neighborhood park.
Yes! These are all very important aspects that definitely need to be part of the conversation and we want to hear your thoughts and concerns on these and other topics. It is a privilege to be able to enjoy the outdoors, but we must be responsible stewards of them as well to ensure long term sustainability for our future.
The entire planning process will encompass three years, with the first one completed (2021-2022) and the next phase underway which should complete by the summer of 2024.
We hope so! This plan is to create an open, honest, transparent, cohesive, and collaborative effort to include ALL affected and invested entities that use or live within the Pikes Peak region. We hope to have a framework of partnerships and structures that benefit all for today and future. We hope for this plan to identify specific funding mechanisms or to be used as a tool to attract funding.
OPPI has a Task Force of local stakeholders with varying perspectives across recreation and conservation to provide perspective, expertise, and leadership. The PPORA Advisory Council serves as an additional layer of perspective in the planning process. We also established two key partnerships for executing the first phase: the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) and the Colorado Tourism Office. We have engaged in the professional planning services of local consultants, N.E.S. Inc., to provide strategic support and expertise in this important planning process. During the second phase, a significant emphasis is on public engagement to learn from diverse perspectives and experiences to inform the process and help flesh out conservation and recreation priorities. We have hired Bachman PR to help facilitate the public engagement during this second phase.
Outdoor Pikes Peak Data Hub
Outdoor Pikes Peak Data Hub
Outdoor Pikes Peak Data Hub was designed and is hosted in collaboration with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). The Hub communicates outdoor-related information to the public and community leaders of the Pikes Peak region for better understanding, recognition of value, and thoughtful fact-based planning and decision making. The outdoor economy data hub serves as a one-stop-shop resource with data in three basic categories: the natural environment (including wildlife), recreation and tourism, and socio-economic. It allows you to explore information, download reports, focus in on maps, or compare and contrast data by county, region, or state. Data is displayed in dashboards, maps, storyboards, infographics, etc.
The Hub is dynamic and we will be adding to it and improving it over time. Phase Two of the planning process includes focus on a multi-layer mapping tool to include key layers helpful in planning conservation and recreation priorities for the region. These may include wildlife corridors, sensitive species, climate resiliency, conserved land and water, recreation infrastructure, recreational/visitor usage and type, etc.
Here are just a few snapshots from the Data Hub today:
Prior Planning Analysis
Prior Planning Analysis
Prior Planning Analysis for the Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Vision Plan
The Pikes Peak region has a history of collaboration and forward-thinking leaders. It was determined that we weren’t starting from zero because so much good collaboration and planning had been done already around issues affecting conservation and recreation. PPORA and a planning working group had identified 48 plans three years earlier that warranted examination; and, after the Task Force met and identified documents they felt were important, the list grew to over 100! Although a daunting task, the team at N.E.S. read through each one as a part of our Needs Assessment to identify key recommendations, implementation status, and stakeholder and community identified priorities.
The next step was to look at key plans and talk with those responsible for the plan and possibly implementation – mainly land managers – to better understand the status of implementation, relevance of recommendations today, barriers to implementation and who is taking ownership. This process is wrapping up as Phase One comes to a close and Phase Two begins.
Below are some snapshots of the work in draft form:
Outdoor Industry Stakeholder Report
Outdoor Industry Stakeholder Report
Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance participated in the Restart Industry Association grant from the Colorado Tourism Office to establish the Pikes Peak Outdoor Industry Stakeholder Survey to gain an understanding of the makeup, needs, and sentiment of the local outdoor recreation industry.
The information gathered from the survey will be used to help inform this regional planning effort, among other things.
The questionnaire was made up of 24 questions that included industry nonprofit and business insights, industry benchmarking, and open-ended responses. View the Executive Summary and Full Report below.