Cripple Creek Hits The Jackpot With Outdoor Adventure Park

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

Cripple Creek has hit a fiscal home run in its growing bid for outdoor amenities and trails, an image that often eluded the town in the early years of legal gambling.

However, times are definitely changing for the southern Teller community with Cripple Creek trying to expand from its gaming-only stigma.  

Plans are now getting finalized in Cripple Creek for a large outdoor adventure park, with a proposed 18-hole disc golf course, a dog park, an expanded BMX track, a running area, multi-use trail, tubing and sledding areas, ponds, an adventure playground and much more. However, the park won’ t feature that much when it comes to new facility construction, as the adventure center is designed more as a natural, outdoor hub.

Photo by Cripple Creek

Last week, Cripple Creek Parks and Recreation Director Connie Dodrill outlined the new amenities for the Mountain View Adventure Park, following a successful $200,000-plus grant bid with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).

If plans proceed as proposed, many of these amenities will be completed by the end of the summer and fall at the mega park area, located at the southwest corner of town near its public works facility. The new project won’t require any new staff additions, but will involve much involvement by volunteers and nonprofit groups, such as the Mountain Top Cycling Club and the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter group. In addition, the city has to provide a substantial matching contribution, and will do a considerable amount of dirt work to facilitate the outdoor adventure park effort. A $55,000 contribution has also been made by the Newmont Mining Corporation, according to Dodrill.  

“There are a lot of people that are anxious about this project,” said the parks and recreation director, who stressed the strong community support for the adventure park.

More importantly the project was rated in the top ten by GOCO officials among more than 60 applicants in this particular funding cycle, according to Dodrill. She also said state officials are using Cripple Creek as a prime example of a resounding success story. Cripple Creek fell short a year ago in securing funding for the adventure park, but was close.   

Instead of throwing in the towel, the city resubmitted its grant late last year and emphasized the community support and needs for the project.

Disc golf paradise

One of the definite adventure park highlights will include plans for an 18-hold disc golf course. Frisbee golf is a growing sport and has already attracted much popularity in Teller County at the Shining Mountain Golf Course in Woodland Park.  Shining Mountain launched a disc golf layout at sections of the regular course in 2016. This activity received an amazingly good reception, with certain tournaments sporting some of the best disc golfers in the state. The image of disc golfers is much different than previous perceptions, according to Shining Mountain managers.  

The only downside, according to some reports, is that the disc golf layout at Shining Mountain is quite difficult due to the tight target areas. The proposed course at the Mountain View Adventure Park, though, appears to offer a more open, less-rigorous layout. That could offer a real bonus for Frisbee linksters in the area, or those wanting to try out the sport.

The council reacted positively to the grant award and the plans for the adventure park. A few concerns were raised about potential liabilities at certain pond areas and the city’s responsibilities in maintaining the park. But Dodrill didn’t see any problems and assured the leaders that proper signage would be posted.

She also made it clear that the park isn’t designed for big modern amities with new structures. That point was made in response to a resident question about installing water fountains and upscale restroom areas. According to Dodrill, more structural amenities could possibly be added in the future, but not at the outset of the project.  

The adventure area could provide a boon to a town that has reached a saturation point with its current recreation facilities.

For years, the parks and recreation department has tried to expand its current Henry Hack facility downtown, but has gotten stifled by changing plans by city officials. On several occasions in the last decade, town leaders retreated from funding plans for expanding its current park and recreation facility and adding a needed addition, even with a substantial donation from the CC&V Gold Mining company. These delays occurred due to concerns over the economy and as a result of conflicting projects.

However, the outdoor adventure park has much more potential than other expansions mulled by the CC parks and recreation agency, according to city officials. Unlike previous recreation pursuits, plans for the Mountain View Adventure Park haven’t encountered any opposition.