Build trail and you can put up a sign, Parks Board tells ‘Garden of Goddesses’ supporters

       If Shanti and Coreen Toll lead a “Garden of the Goddesses” group in building a trail at Red Rock Canyon Open Space, they can erect a sign saying so.
       This was the informal direction from the Colorado Springs Parks Advisory Board at its meeting Jan. 13.
       The Tolls had wanted to rename a Red Rock trail with that title, but could not get board approval to do so. The board actually took no vote at all after more than a half-hour of discussion, agreeing by consensus to abide by an existing Parks policy in which a person or group making a significant donation to a park is allowed to erect a “recognition sign,” according to City Parks Development Manager Terry Putman. For example, he said after the meeting, “If they (the Tolls' group) build the trail, they can get recognition that it was built by the Garden of the Goddesses club.” But the sign could not call it the Garden of the Goddesses Trail, Putman pointed out.
       The word “club” references a meeting comment by Shanti Toll, that the group wanting the name within Red Rock Canyon “is more of a support club for nature lovers.”
       Coreen Toll proposed a year ago that the entire 788.1-acre open space property be given that title. She argued that it would provide a feminine counter-balance to the nearby Garden of the Gods, which has similarly spectacular rock formations. The Parks Board listened to her appeals before deciding to go with the name the property has been called over the decades - Red Rock Canyon. However, Parks Board members at that time left open the possibility of giving something within the open space the name she likes - such as an actual garden.
       Putman noted at the meeting that the Red Rock Canyon Open Space master plan already has theme names for its trails.
       Shanti Toll suggested the “contemplative trail” theme for the ¾-mile trail through Red Rock's Sand Canyon area made it ideal for the “Goddesses” monicker.
       Board member Steve Harris lamented that the name issue has drawn national media attention to Colorado Springs - because of the political/feminist implications - and helped foment community “divisiveness.”
       Both the Tolls were involved in the Red Rock Canyon planning process last year, and Shanti Toll has been serving as president of the Friends of Red Rock Canyon group that formed last fall.
       The carry-over from a recognition sign, according to Parks Board Vice Chair Larry Royal, could be that people start calling the trail by the Tolls' desired name. “If in the next year or so it becomes known as the Garden of the Goddesses [trail] because of common usage, then so be it,” he said.
       After the meeting, a Gazette article Jan. 14 stated - inaccurately - that the board had “granted permission for a group to build a trail in Red Rock Canyon to be called Garden of the Goddesses.” Putman said Parks has asked for a correction from the newspaper, but so far without any luck.

Westside Pioneer article