The new falcon herald logo.
News Briefs

Trails association: open space and community

For members of the Black Forest Trails Association, their mission is more than providing the Black Forest Community at-large with open recreational space.Committed to creating ìa safe, legitimate, non-motorized multi-use recreational trail system that connects Black Forest neighborhoods to each other and the El Paso County Ö Recreational Trail System,î the group both advocates for and works toward preserving public parks and trails for general use.The organization also works to link the parks and trails together for ease of access and to create a comprehensive connected system.ìThere are people who ride horses, cycle and hike, and what we want to do is develop a trail system for them,î said Larry Fariss, who has led the BFTA as the board president for eight years. ìWe want to make these trails safe and operational for all people in El Paso County.îThe BFTA operates in a large space in the county, from Highway 83 west, east to Peyton, north to Hodgen Road and Woodmen Road south.Established in the 1990s, Black Forest residents developed the association in recognition of the importance of trail preservation and providing maintained and safe recreational spaces.The BFTA also works with land owners to permit access on their properties from rural trails to other rural trails, Fariss said.ìAny trail that is not motorized, we want a part of that,î he said.According to BFTA board member and webmaster Andy Meng, the association is more important now because it helps preserve open space in a time where housing and development is on the rise.Meng said the association helps preserve the natural atmosphere of the Black Forest community, which he noted as the reason people move to the area. ìThe Trails Association helps in this effort by working with government and other agencies to preserve the parks and open spaces we currently have, and to advocate for new non-motorized neighborhood trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians that will enhance the quiet, rural atmosphere we all love.îCurrently, the BFTA is working with El Paso County to connect their trail systems to Falcon Regional Park, the newest planned park in the area. The BFTA is taking the park ìinto our area of interest,î Fariss said.The association maintains several trails, including those at Black Forest Regional Park, Black Forest Section 16, Fox Run and Homestead Ranch regional parks, Pikes Peak Loop trail and several other small ìsocialî trails throughout the community.They raise funds to help maintain the trails through grading, the provision of memorialized benches, cleanup services and other maintenance tasks.Fariss cited improved health, community recreational opportunities, multi-mobile transportation, enhancement of neighborhoods and the creation of a vibrant community as a few of the benefits the organization and the trails bring to Black Forest.ìThat is the fiber that holds the community together,î Fariss said. ìIt might not have to do directly with the trails themselves, but it has everything to do with the community. Thatís why it is important that we lobby with the county, so they know that people use and want these trails. The more voices we represent, the more strength we have.ìWe are blessed Ö with a lot of open space. We want to see that continue. Organizations like this are critical for that goal. When I walk the trails and I see people with their kids or their dogs, they probably have no idea what we (the BFTA) have done, but I know what weíve done, and I love that.îThe Black Forest Trails Association is always seeking members. For more information on the organization and how to join, visit their website at

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers