Canceling May 12th Trail Night and Monument Fire Center History

With the current Colorado and USFS COVID-19 guidelines and issues, FOMP is canceling our May 12th trail night. We’ll hope to see you all on our June 9th trail night after the sanctions are lifted, albeit likely still practicing social distancing and working in smaller groups.

With the exponential usage at the Fire Center, the trails are getting torn up, and we need to begin some much-needed maintenance work. Thanks for your support and thoughts throughout the pandemic, and we look forward to seeing everyone again.

In the meantime, here is some brief history of the Fire Center.


Forest Service employees at the Monument Nursery, 1925.

Monument Fire Center

Monument Fire Center is the home base for the Monument Helitack Crew and the Pike Hotshots. Although known as a hub of activity for fire operations today, the first work boots to walk these grounds were worn by pioneering Forest Service employees in the early days of the agency. Five tent houses and a barn on 480 acres was the beginning.


Monument Nursery in the early years.

In 1907 men from the Bureau of Forestry recognized this area would be an ideal spot to create a tree nursery; a fertile, easily accessible spot to produce seedlings for National Forests in the five-state Rocky Mountain Region. Their mission was to conduct reforesting efforts in areas that had been heavily logged or destroyed by large wildfires. The Mt. Herman Planting Station was born, soon to be known as the Monument Nursery. This was one of the first such nurseries in the newly created National Forest System. Monument Nursery served in that capacity for 58 years, providing millions of seedlings locally and nationally.

In 1920 the site was selected as a “Memorial Grove”, established in memory of Forest Service employees from the Rocky Mountain Region who were killed during WWI.  Individual trees were planted for each servicemember lost, and the Memorial Grove was later expanded to honor the memory of all deceased USFS Rocky Mountain Region employees. A memorial is held in the spring of each year to honor those from our past.


In 1934 the Civilian Conservation Corps established a camp here, setting hundreds of men to work during the lean years of the Great Depression. The residents of Monument saw the faces of men from all over the country come and go from the train station as they fulfilled their six-month “hitch” with the CCC.


The last train load of CCC men departing Monument after the camp’s closing.

Those men constructed many of the buildings at the center, which are still in use today. When fire season arrived these men would aid in suppression efforts; those early fire crews laid the groundwork for the federal firefighting system to come.

The current configuration of the Fire Center was drafted in 1979 when the Pike Hotshots moved in. The old CCC buildings and dwellings were converted to accommodate the 20-person fire crew and their equipment. In 1996 Monument Helitack set up at the Fire Center, establishing a helibase just up the hill from the hotshots. Today the site consists of three barracks buildings, a large workshop, kitchen building, classroom, multiple storage structures, administrative building, the helibase, and the dwelling which originally housed the Chief Nurseryman. Each summer thirty or more firefighters call this place home, walking in the steps of those who broke ground before us.

Unlike some duty stations, the Monument Fire Center is ideal for crew operations, housing, and community access. Surrounded by miles of singletrack, at the foot of Mt. Herman and the Pike National Forest, only minutes away from downtown Monument and a short drive to Colorado Springs and Denver, this is a great spot for firefighters to call home. Ongoing efforts to modernize our facilities ensure that our base of operations will be here for years to come, continuing the tradition of service at Monument Fire Center.

Etiquette: How to Share a Trail

From our friends at Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates

How to Share a Trail – especially during Stay-at-Home Order

Most of us live in the Pikes Peak Region because of the amazing access to trails and natural spaces. Getting out into these spaces heals our minds, bodies, and souls.  With the state-wide shutdown, our trails are being taxed more than ever. The additional use, including from many new users who aren’t familiar with some aspects of trail etiquette, can lead to misunderstandings and even conflicts.

All users play a role in reducing trail conflicts.  Here are some etiquette guidelines we can follow to improve trail experiences for everyone.

Mountain BikersEveryday MTB etiquette

  • Ride with a bell, announce your presence in a friendly way.  Try not to startle other users.
  • When passing hikers, cyclists must yield.  What does yield mean?  As a cyclist, it is ultimately your responsibility to avoid crashing into someone (or entering their safe space). This means riding in control at all times, able to slow down and stop if necessary to negotiate a safe pass. This may include dismounting, and even backing up.  Often, it’s easier for a hiker to move to the side of the trail to let you pass, and most hikers will do this if there is a safe place and you communicate with them.  Pass slowly and safely, thank them, and continue on your way.
  • If you are riding downhill and encounter someone riding uphill – you must yield to them.  Usually, this means slowing and getting to the side or stopping. Get as far off the trail or as far as possible, and allow the uphill rider to ride past.
  • If you encounter an equestrian, moving either toward or away from you, slow down, stop as necessary and engage in a conversation about the best way to pass.
  • If there are others in your group, let the person you’re passing know how many are behind you.
  • If you stop for any reason, move off to the side – don’t block the trail.
  • Don’t ride muddy trails. If you’re leaving ruts, turn around. If you encounter a muddy section or puddle on an otherwise dry trail, ride through it. Don’t widen the trail: Keep singletrack single.

Additional guidelines for MTBs during the Stay-at-Home order

  • For now, it’s better to ride solo or in very small groups – not with the squad.  Envision the perspective of a slow-moving hiker or new user, when 5, 6 or more mountain bikers charge pass like a sweaty, possibly infected, unstopping freight train….  Please, share your photos and stories about the ride for everyone to enjoy – but keep your actual riding groups SMALL.
  • Tame the ride down a little to reduce the risk for everyone, including you.  Don’t wind up in the ER chasing a personal record or that big jump you’ve always been eyeing.
  • Training for a race?  Consider putting in more time than normal on the road to reduce trail congestion.
  • When possible, ride to the trail instead of driving, to reduce crowds on the trail and at trailheads.

Hikers/trail runners

  • Maintain situational awareness – you are sharing the trail with others.  Expect and watch for them.
  • If using headphones or earbuds, keep the volume low enough to hear and engage with other users.
  • Cyclists are required to slow down and yield to hikers. Often it is much easier for hikers than cyclists to step off a narrow trail. It also creates less trail widening. Hikers are not required to yield to cyclists, but if you are able to, please cooperate with cyclists to let them pass quickly and safely.
  • Avoid standing along the outside edge of a switchback/climbing turn.  When riding up or down, most cyclists prefer to use them outside of the turn – it’s safer and easier to get through the turn.  Please stand on the inside edge of these turns, or away from the turn altogether
  • If hiking in groups spread out so that other users can pass safely.
  • If you stop along the way, move to the side – don’t block the trail.
  • Don’t use muddy trails. If you’re leaving footprints, turn around. If you encounter a muddy section or puddle on an otherwise dry trail, go through it. Don’t widen the trail.
  • The Fire Center is a USFS off-leash area. Please keep all pets under control, especially excitable, unruly or aggressive ones, so that they don’t negatively impact or injure other users.


  • Choose trails that are appropriate for your skill level, and for the comfort level of your horse.
  • If your horse (and you) need practice on technical trail moves or being around other users – use El Paso County Parks’ Equestrian Skills Course to improve your skills and familiarity with other users.
  • Work with other users to share the trail.
  • Don’t ride muddy trails. If you’re leaving deep prints, turn around. If you encounter a muddy section or puddle on an otherwise dry trail, ride through it. Don’t widen the trail: Keep singletrack single.

ALL USERS, during the Stay-At-Home order.

  • The health and safety of our whole community is the most important thing right now.  We all have a role to play in lightening the load on our medical system.  If we work together we can weather the storm AND keep our beloved trails open for responsible, safe use.
  • With limited exercise options, our trails are getting more use than ever.  Help reduce crowds by riding or walking to trails whenever possible.
  • Don’t crowd trailheads. Don’t congregate in groups on trails. Groups present the biggest risk of spreading the virus AND to our sustained access to our parks.
  • Wear a neck gaiter or other non-surgical mask.  If you find you can’t wear it all the time, pull it up when passing anyone.
  • Remember that everyone is here to enjoy the trails, just like you, and they should.  Smile, cooperate, help others. If you feel the need to educate another trail user about etiquette, do it politely. Breathe.
  • Don’t spread COVID. Stay up-to-date on public health recommendations: CDC Colo Dept of public healthEl Paso County Health.
  • We recognize the range of critical needs right now in our community due to the health and economic disruptions. Meanwhile, Friends of the Monument Preserve relies on the ongoing support of trail users to continue the work that we do. Please donate and/or join to support great trails if you have the means to do so.
  • Although our Trail Love build days are on hold for now, we have plenty of opportunities for interested volunteers to help us get ready for when we can dig again. If you’re interested in helping, please contact us at



FOMP: COVID-19 Response and Suggestions

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay local!

The health of our trail users, volunteers, community, and our board members is utmost in our thoughts and hearts.

During this crisis, FOMP will be operating in this mode:

  1. All FOMP social gatherings have been postponed.
  2. All FOMP group trail building workdays have been postponed.
  3. All FOMP meetings and correspondence will be done online/electronically.

At this time, the trails in the Monument Fire Center are open for use, and FOMP recognizes how vital the role of outdoor activities and exercise is for our physical and mental wellness. We will partner and cooperate with our USFS land manager in every way possible to ensure that access to trails is maintained (see the bottom of the page for the latest USFS news release).

We offer the following suggestions when recreating:

  1. If you are exhibiting symptoms or have been in contact with someone who is symptomatic, please self-quarantine, and don’t risk exposing other trail users.
  2. Avoid crowded trails and trailheads, and if possible, ride/hike/run to the trailhead if you can, or go out during non-peak times.
  3. Work with other trail users to maintain the 6-foot distance rule. This may require adjustment to your standard routine. Just wait for safe opportunities to pass if needed.
  4. Recreate conservatively, since we don’t want to overload the health care system with an emergency.
  5. Recreate locally. Under the current state-wide mandated shutdown, we are not permitted to travel to other locations for recreation.
  6. No social gatherings and group rides/hikes/runs.

With the current economic turmoil, please support any local business if at all possible, reach out to help your neighbors (from a distance), and help those in need through local charitable groups.

A big thanks to our board members, volunteers, and supporters!


This is the current new release per the local USFS:

Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands to indefinitely close some recreational facilities

PUEBLO, Colorado (March 27, 2020) – District Rangers on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands will, today, begin the orderly closure of developed recreation sites and some services in their districts to protect public health and safety and align with state and local measures already in place to contain the COVID019 outbreak.

Forest Service lands on the PSICC are open for day use activities, such as forest trails accessed at federally managed trail heads, to provide opportunity for the public to participate in necessary activities defined by the Colorado Governor’s Executive Order to Stay at Home dated March 25, 2020. Updates to the availability of other recreation sites in the area are always available on our website at

“Personal responsibility is important now more than ever. Safe and responsible use of national forests and grasslands will reduce impacts to local communities who may be at risk from the virus,” said Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands Forest Supervisor Diana Trujillo.

People who made reservations for any of the affected facilities through will be notified via email and/or cell phone text messages if there are any changes affecting their reservation. Reservation holders who are affected during the closure may receive a full refund for the reservation.

As the nation works through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety is our number one priority. We are committed to continuing to support our communities and fulfill our mission as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19.   If you choose to recreate on the national forest, please follow CDC/state guidelines and limit group size to less than 10 people and practice recommended social distancing techniques to minimize your exposure.

Assistance in a backcountry emergency could result in response times that are significantly delayed and some resources, such as air ambulances, and others may be unavailable.

The PSICC will continue to coordinate its COVID-19 response in alignment with all federal, state and local guidance.  Everyone is urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most recent CDC guidelines are available at  Additional information is available at

March 2020 Board of Directors Meeting

March 2020 Board of Directors Meeting

FOMP is pleased to announce our March 2020 Board Meeting

Meeting Time:
Tuesday, March 10th at 7:00 PM

Meeting location

Trinity Lutheran Church, 17750 Knollwood Monument refer to –  behind the Kum and Go, park in the east parking lot and enter through the east doors (by the playground). Take the first right and walk north through the double doors to the first classroom on the right.

Board Member Updates

  • President and Vice President update.
  • Secretary and Treasurer update.


  • Board of Director Officers Elections – If interested in running, please contact us!
  • The outside consultant will present their findings and action plan for the FOMP organization.
  • Trailer update.
  • Trail nights start next month (6 PM – dark) –  April 14, May 12, June 9, Jul 14, Aug 11, Sept 8, and Oct 13.
  • We will be adding Saturday trail days.

Open Discussion

January 2020 Board of Directors Meeting

January 2020 Board of Directors Meeting

FOMP is pleased to announce our November 2019 Board Meeting

Meeting Time:
Tuesday, January 14th at 7:00 PM

Meeting location

Trinity Lutheran Church, 17750 Knollwood Monument refer to –  behind the Kum and Go, park in the east parking lot and enter through the east doors (by the playground). Take the first right and walk north through the double doors to the first classroom on the right.

Board Member Updates

  • President and VP update.
  • Treasure update.


  • 2020 work.
  • Trailforks updates.
  • Trail leader training.
  • Skills college prep.
  • Board member changes.
  • Seat open- trail leader.
  • New secretary.
  • New grant funding to FOMP.
  • The hiring of an outside consultant

Open Discussion

October 2019 Board of Directors Meeting

October 2019 Board of Directors Meeting

FOMP is pleased to announce our October 2019 Board Meeting

Meeting Time:
Tuesday, February 8th at 7:00 PM

Meeting location

Trinity Lutheran Church, 17750 Knollwood Monument refer to –  behind the Kum and Go, park in the east parking lot and enter through the east doors (by playground). Take the first right and walk north through the double doors to the first classroom on the right.

Board Member Updates

  • President and VP update.
  • Secretary update.
  • Treasure update.


  • Trail pods
  • President and VP meeting with USFS District Ranger and Volunteer Coordinator
  • Positive feedback from trail users
  • No poop angels – remove bags
  • Earbuds use on trails
  • TOSC (Trails & Open Space Coalition)
  • Removal of older signs from trails
  • Adopt a trail
  • 2019 Work Overview
  • 2020 work: how does our front door look
  • Camping and homeless issues – especially Red Rocks parking lot
  • Trailforks updates

Open Discussion


Thanks, and we hope to see you there!