MW-Parks MOU

MedWheel has signed a new (improved) MOU with the city of Colorado Springs Parks Department

In 2022 the city of COS Parks department developed a new proposed working agreement, for how they wanted to work with Friends groups, on Parks property. MedWheel did NOT sign that agreement because, along with several other volunteer groups (including Friends of Garden of the Gods, Friends of Stratton, Friends of Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Guardians of Palmer Park) we had serious concerns with the proposal and new direction the city was attempting to take.

For MedWheel the primary concern was that we have worked for years with multiple rangers across multiple Parks properties – whereas the proposed agreement restricted a volunteer group to only communicating with a single Parks ranger. We also wanted assurances from staff that they would not close or alter existing trails without public consultation, outside of a master planning effort. Many will remember the issues caused when in late 2021 staff closed the bottom portion of Fenceline trail, eventually backpedaling on the claim that it was causing undue erosion and sedimentation.

For these reasons, in March of 2022 MedWheel requested that Parks staff meet with us to address this and other concerns with the proposed MOU. Disappointingly, staff declined to meet with us to discuss our concerns, and therefore for the first time in 30 years, we did not have a general working agreement with Parks for all of 2022. While this was a disappointing development, it was the right decision to stand our ground on that point. Also we recognized the turmoil that had been caused by a change of Parks Director during that time.

Thankfully, we were able to finalize a specific working agreement focused on the construction of the Cresta Bike Park – a collaborative project with Kids on Bikes and Cheyenne Mountain HS Cycling Team, with the construction management of that project handled by MedWheel. So we had plenty to do on city property in 2022 despite not signing the general MOU. This also gave MedWheel an opportunity in 2022 to expand our partnerships with other land managers including some new ones we hadn’t worked with before.

The board of MedWheel is pleased to report that in the springs of 2023, following significant lobbying b MedWheel at Parks board and city council, Parks staff agreed to make the necessary modifications to the MOU, addressing the concerns brought forward by MedWheel and others.. In 2023 MedWheel has full authority to work with the rangers we’ve supported for many years, and to get back to planning Trail Love Dig Dates to support trails on Parks property. We are still finalizing our Dig Dates – watch for Trail Love this season in Palmer Park, Ute Valley, Austin Bluffs, North Cheyenne Canyon.

We are proud of the collaborations we’ve had with COS Parks for over 30 years, including trail work on the Lake Moraine Trail, Palmer Trail, Chamberlain Trail, Codell Trail, Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks, Palmer Park, North Cheyenne Canyon, Austin Bluffs, Ute Valley, and more.

Feel free to reach out with any questions about this topic.