Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities in Colorado Springs
Are you hoping to fit in some philanthropy on your next visit to Colorado Springs? Are you a local that loves your city and want to give back? The Pikes Peak region has lots of nonprofits and volunteer groups dedicated to maintaining the pristine open spaces that make our home spectacular. Even better, they are always on the lookout for help, whether you can spare a few hours or a few days. We have a list of opportunities to volunteer we know you’ll enjoy. If you’re not super outdoorsy, you can donate money to the organizations and support their work or patronize the local business owners who sponsor them. For now, though, let’s talk about the opportunities that let you get hands-on in giving back.
Colorado Springs Park Friends Organizations
Maintaining our beautiful public spaces is a team effort. Our city and county resources can only stretch so far in a city covered with thousands of acres of community parts and open space. It would be impossible to hike all the trails daily to check for trash or maintain hundreds of miles of trails in the wilderness. On top of reporting and effort from daily hikers and bikers, our parks also rely on community-organized groups of volunteers who make individual open spaces their personal project to clean and maintain. Check out this list to find the local friend group that cares for your favorite park.
Friends of the Peak
Pikes Peak is one of the most-visited mountains in the world, with millions of visitors flocking to see America’s Mountain each year. As you can imagine, all those people have a massive impact on the natural environment. Friends of the Peak is an organization with a mission to preserve the numerous trails hikers and riders use to explore this beautiful part of the Pikes Peak region. Join the Friends of the Peak from May through October for any one of their workdays on Barr Trail, 7 Bridges Trail, St. Mary Falls Trail and popular areas like Pancake Rock and Crow Gulch. Sign up is as easy as filling out a form. So is donating.
Friends of Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Much like America’s Mountain, Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a popular stop for visitors to the Pikes Peak region. This “mini” version of the Garden of the Gods features smaller formations, trails, pavilions and even a small bike park. Because it is so popular, it sees a lot of foot traffic all year long that can put quite a bit of wear on the trails. Not only that, snow and rain can wreak havoc on the trails each season. The Friends need volunteers for trail repairs and cleanup, trash collection and flood mitigation, plus help with advocacy for their mission. You can inquire about their opportunities here.
Friends of Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods welcomes millions of visitors to the park each year. Even with hard work of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, it’s safe to say they can use the helping hands of a few friends. Friends of Garden of the Gods provides indoor and outdoor support to the park with volunteer options to provide support to the information kiosk, lead nature walks, greet new visitors and, like every park, trail clean-up days. The latter includes litter removal, floodwater mitigation, brush clearing and erosion prevention. If you prefer to donate, your funds will help provide schools with transportations funds, as well as other conservation efforts.
Friends of Bear Creek Dog Park
Bear Creek Dog Park is the most-visited El Paso County Park, welcoming more than 100,000 visitors (and presumably, their dogs) each year in the Pikes Peak region. It is a massive 25+ acre space with hills, trees, trails and even a segment of creek that runs through it. Keeping this location clean and as sanitary as possible is imperative to prevent the spread of disease and to protect community land and waterways. The Friends of Bear Creek Dog Park promote regular clean-up days, as well as opportunities to educate the community on the importance of responsible pet clean-up. Watch their Facebook page for the most up-to-date events and volunteer opportunities.
Outdoor Conservation Non-Profits
For larger scale education, conservation and maintenance initiatives, Colorado Springs is also fortunate to have several larger non-profits working hard to get things done. You’ll find lots of opportunities to volunteer with these organizations, including clean-ups, trail repair, guide/educator, activism, fundraising and much more. Here are some of our biggest movers and shakers in the quest to keep Colorado Springs beautiful.
The Rocky Mountain Catamount Institute
What better way to ensure the conservation and care of our outdoor spaces than to instill a sense of pride and responsibility in the next generation? The Catamount Institute works to “connect kids with the outdoors,” offering hands-on education and opportunities for adventure. Kids don’t just learn to love and appreciate nature. They are also exposed to healthy exercise, fresh air and lots of opportunity to make new friends. Volunteer opportunities include working with kids (with required safety protocols), sharing Catamount’s mission and working at the administrative level to fundraise, create innovative programs and support the future of the Institute. Sign up to volunteer or donate here.
Trails and Open Space Coalition
To say that the Trails and Open Space Coalition have made a difference in the preservation and protection of Colorado Springs’ outdoor spaces would be a serious understatement. They have spearheaded multiple initiatives to bring more money to the maintenance of local trails, as well as the acquisition of new land for residents and visitors to explore. It would take an entire article to even scratch the surface of their work, so we’ll just say that you will absolutely get your chance to make a difference as a volunteer. You can participate in co-sponsored trail repair and clean-up projects, join as a sponsoring member or, our favorite, join some of TOSC’s top fundraising events as a participant. We strongly recommend the Starlight Spectacular, an annual ride in Garden of the Gods — at night! Learn all about these opportunities here.
Rocky Mountain Field Institute
Like TOSC, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute is a powerful outdoor ally in the Pikes Peak region, running multiple trail and public land conservation efforts. The non-profit motivates volunteers from all over Southern Colorado in restoring natural spaces, repairing trails and educating others on the importance of land stewardship and preservation. Not only that, RMFI also invest in research on new ways to restore damaged lands and trails and protect our outdoor spaces from the damage of human encroachment. Volunteerism is at the heart of the RMFI mission, and they rely heavily on the dedicated individuals who share their time and effort with the Institute. The organization’s volunteer calendar is a wonderful place to start if you want to participate. You can also organize group initiatives for Scouts, school groups or corporate volunteer initiatives. More information on RMFI volunteer opportunities can be found here.
This list will give you a head start on volunteering in the Pikes Peak region. Our pristine outdoor spaces need every bit of help they can get to stay that we. Thank you so much for your contribution to the conservation of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region.