The Park Operations Division manages more than 6,500 acres of park land and open space, 109 miles of trails, and a variety of recreation facilities. We make every effort to provide safe, clean and green facilities for our residents to enjoy. We also provide ground maintenance for all County office buildings.
Regional Parks provide a large area of parkland with recreation resource values of regional and community significance.
Regional Trails provide recreational enjoyment, links, and access to recreation areas of regional significance and local communities, as well as commuting opportunities.
Open Space is generally described as an area with important natural, cultural, historic, or visual resource values that has been purposefully protected.
Neighborhood Parks provide a small area that supports a variety of outdoor recreation experiences at a local level and may include recreational activities such as picnicking, field sports, walking, and nature study and observation.
Recreation Areas provide an area with recreation opportunities and dominant natural and/or cultural resources.
2002 Creek Crossing, Colorado Springs, CO 80905
(In Bear Creek Park Regional Park, SE of 21st & Rio Grande)
The El Paso County Park and Recreation District was formed in 1971 to provide the parks and recreation facilities needed to serve a rapidly growing population. The Department’s initial policies gave high priority to the development of parklands in urbanized but unincorporated areas of the County in an effort to reduce pressure on City of Colorado Springs facilities and programs. Within five years, the Department had completed construction of or allocated funds for the construction of parks in sixteen rural and urban areas of the County. Regional trails were also a priority, and the spines of primary regional trails were established in cooperation with other jurisdictions.
It became apparent, however, that maintenance of these areas was going to become an increasingly difficult financial challenge. In September of 1976, the Board of County Commissioners established a parks division and re-chartered the role of the division to emphasize the provision of large, regional-scale parks and abandon the effort to provide neighborhood parks and programs. While essentially natural in character, the regional parks were designed to include a developed portion with facilities such as turfed, multi-purpose playfields, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, archery range, disc golf course, dog parks, equestrian skills course, picnic areas with pavilions for group activities, restrooms, and green space for unstructured activities.
Organizational Chart: PDF Document
Brad Bixler, Park Operations Manager and Central District Supervisor
Brad started with El Paso County in March 2014. Brad started his career as a teacher/coach where he once coached a state championship football team. During that time he also managed a private landscaping and turf maintenance business. From there he got into facility, transit and grounds management in Mohave County Arizona where he managed five facilities, several small parks and a transportation fleet of over 50 vehicles. He also created and provided oversight for 40 plus recreation programs. During that time Brad received over sixteen million dollars in grants and was the fund-raiser, grant writer and assistant project manager for a $4,200,000 Senior Complex. Brad spent three years as parks and contracts manager for the City of Pueblo Colorado where he managed over 130 locations totaling more than 6,000 acres. He provided management for an urban forest, 65 parks, 27 miles of river trail, 47 playgrounds, six ball fields a dog park and a disc golf course. Brad has received formal training in team building, problem solving, strategic planning, mediation and emergency management. He is certified in playground inspections, incident command and crisis/emergency communications. Brad has extensive experience in creating policy and procedure manuals and training/safety manuals as well as writing contracts.
Adam Baker, East District Supervisor
Adam has worked for El Paso County Parks since 2000 and began as a seasonal employee at Bear Creek Regional Park. He worked his way up to a full time employee and in April of 2015 was promoted to the East District Maintenance Supervisor. His area of responsibility is the eastern portion of the county from Meridian Road to the county line and includes Homestead Ranch Regional Park, Paint Mines Regional Park, Rock Island Regional Trail and the Fairgrounds.
Jeremy Symes, North District Supervisor
Jeremy Symes has worked for El Paso County Parks since 2008. He served as the Central District Maintenance Supervisor, headquartered at Bear Creek Regional Park for three years. In 2011, he was assigned as the North District Supervisor with responsibility for Fox Run Regional Park and Black Forest Regional Park. He has a Class A Commercial Driver’s License and is a Certified Playground Safety Inspector as well as a Public Drinking Water Operator and a Level I Water Distribution Operator. Mr. Symes is a veteran of the United States Army.
Kyle Melvin, Central District Supervisor
Kyle started his career with El Paso County Parks in November of 2012 as a Park Maintenance II in the East District. In the summer of 2013 he was promoted to the Park Maintenance III position in the Central District and was responsible for the turf and landscape maintenance of 15 County Facilities. In November of 2014 Kyle was promoted to Park Supervisor, Central District Parks and is currently responsible for Regional Development Building, Centennial Hall, Pikes Peak Center, Sheriff’s Building, Professional Building, County Court House , Metro Jail , Criminal Justice Center, Fathering Center, Visitation Center, Community Service Center, County DMV, Fleet Management Facility, Emergency Response Facility, Metro Parking Garage, CSU Extension Office, County Health Department, Bear Creek Regional Park, Bear Creek Dog Park, Bear Creek Nature Center, Rainbow Falls Recreational Area, Ute Pass Regional Trail and Jones Park.
Patrick Salamon, South District Supervisor
Pat Salamon has worked for El Paso County since 2008. He worked in the North District until June of 2015. At that time he was promoted to the South District Supervisor. He is responsible for all South District Parks from South Circle Drive and south to Clear Springs Ranch Recreation Area, to include Fountain Creek Regional Park, Fountain Creek Nature Center, Willow Springs, Widefield Park, McCrea Reservoir, Stratmoor Valley Trailhead, Stratmoor Hills Park, Ceresa Park, Fountain Creek Regional Trail, Crews Gulch Trail, Hanson Trailhead, and various County facility grounds. Pat has attended the CSU Master Gardener program and is currently working towards becoming a Licensed Pesticide Applicator, Public Drinking Water Operator and a Level I Water Distribution Operator.
Randy Smith, Operations Supervisor
Randy is the longest tenured employee of the operations Division. Randy began his County career as a part time employee in 1986. In 1989 Randy was hired fulltime as a skilled craftsman I. Randy was promoted to the operations supervisor position in October of 2015. Randy’s areas of responsibility include involvement with all major construction projects, major maintenance, utility repair and work orders to help keep all Parks facilities functional. Randy is also the historian for the division and the expert on underground utilities location, irrigation maintenance as well as a variety of other skillsets to include carpentry and electrical repairs.