The BEAR Necessities in Woodland Park

During orientation, I learned that the twelve commonwealth assets found in every community are necessary to keep them thriving. While identifying those commonwealth assets within Woodland Park, the one that stood out was wildlife and nature. Being a small town at the base of Pike Peak and surrounded by the Pikes Peak National Forest, it is easy to spot and interact with wildlife daily. Throughout town it is common to see deer along neighborhood roads and bears have been spotted in trees along Highway 24 and in backyards. Nature is the one asset that sets Woodland Park apart from other communities and it ties into everything else we have.

The leisure and recreation here revolves around beautiful hiking trails. It brings in so much tourism during the summer which keeps our local businesses going strong. The nature has also drawn families to build homes here and find a sense of place such as my family did. I and many of the other community members feel the most at home hiking through the mountains. As a community, our culture is also very dependent on the outdoors. Many people that have come to Woodland Park are very involved in being active and exploring our surroundings and we bring that love of nature into our everyday lives. However, it does come with challenges. Growing food at an elevation of 8,500 feet is already difficult, but with animals constantly present, it become even harder because they see it as a source of food for themselves. This summer, we had a cucumber plant that was doing great, but a squirrel got into and ate most of it leaving us without a chance for fresh vegetables. While we love the wildlife, it prevents the foodshed commonwealth asset from growing.

One other commonwealth asset deeply rooted in my community is health. It may have to do with our location and love for nature and wildlife as well, but our community is very active and conscientious about fitness. In the summers, you can always find people out on the neighborhood roads and trails early in the morning trying to get their runs, hikes, and bike rides in before the heat hits. With all the activity in Woodland Park, as a whole, we are a very healthy community.

While some commonwealth assets are more prevalent than others, I have been able to see all of them at work in Woodland Park. Together they have built up our town and are constantly supporting its growth.

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