Closer to home, on Colorado Springs' own fourteener, Pikes Peak, a story in the Gazette today lays out how the city-owned Pikes Peak Highway is taking bids for a new concessionaire to run the Summit House. The city plans to double the yearly fee for the contract to $1 million dollars, and want the concessionaire to assist with adding more interpretive displays and building a new summit house.
Any improvements to the top of Pikes Peak will probably be broadly welcomed. For decades what could potentially be a valuable interpretive experience, comparable to a national park visitors center, has instead, been a rather tacky emporium of knickknacks, comparable to Wall Drug.
Obviously, there are huge physical plant hurdles at 14,115 feet, and building a new visitor's center is going to take serious cash, but I think a lot of people feel the top of Pikes Peak deserves something more than donut and T-shirt shops. If we're going to have a road up there, let's do it for a purpose. After all, you can buy T-shirts in Manitou.
Oh, by the way, you can print up a coupon good for a free Pikes Peak donut here.