Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Opening the South Slope? There's talk, sort of...
Colorado Springs Utilities has unveiled a new draft watershed access policy that lays out how much access regular folks will have to certain city-owned reservoirs. The big open question in this is the South Slope, a clutch of five reservoirs on the south side of Pikes Peak that has been off limits for almost a century.
In 2000 Utilities seemed ready to slowly allow access. Then came the terrorist attacks of 2001 and security closed any talks.
Now, after much prodding from local groups such as Friends of the Peak, which would like to see the Ring the Peak Trail completed, the draft policy has come out.
Read it here.
Here's the general reaction: Many local hikers are angry. The vague language of the plan seems to suggest the South Slope will stay off limits, except for a narrow trail corridor for the Ring the Peak trail. Utilities officials said they can't open the area because it harbors "sensitive species" but they did not name those animals.
"We've been double crossed," Zoltan Malocsay, author of the "Trails Guide, Denver to Pikes Peak," who was on a committee that advised the city on the opening of North Slope Reservoirs in 1992, said on AM 1580 yesterday. "This has nothing to do with preservation. It has to do with maintaining a private fishing and hunting preserve for [Utilities employees.]"
The next public meeting is in February. The question is whether access advocates will be willing to settle for a trail corridor, or whether they push for more access to the South Slope.
What will happen? We'll see.
Posted by Dave Philipps at 8:36 AM