No doubt you are aware that USFS is considering closing the Bear Creek watershed (including Jones Park) to all uses in order to help save the habitat for the trout. That's the bad news.
The good news is that the alternative plans include a new trail which will connect upper Jones Park (near Lake Moraine) through Frosty's, down to Buckhorn. This could be a very cool new trail, plus it allows for the connection to the Missing Link - Lake Moraine trail project, which could then move forward.
MWTA's official position is this:
·We would like to thank the land managers involved, USFS and Colorado Springs Utilities, for including mountain bikers and MWTA in the process;
·We urge the decision makers to consider all alternatives to closing the trail and evaluate them relative to how likely they are to save the fish (some data would be nice);
·Our number one preference would be not to close the Bear Creek watershed to non-motorized uses.
·IF the watershed must be closed to ALL uses, then the construction of replacement connector trails as outlined in the draft are an acceptable alternative, provided they allow for, at a minimum, non-motorized connectivity with the proposed Lake Moriane Trail on the South Slope of Pikes Peak as well as the Frosty's Park area.
·MWTA would like to be involved with detailed trail layout, since we believe that we can bring a professional persppective to that process.
·We believe the motorized use on the proposed trail is also a good idea, since it provides a way for responsible users in this group to access the high country.
Please feel free to attend the open house this Thursday and provide the land managers with your feedback.
Below is a copy of the official announcement from USFS:
The Pikes Peak Ranger District is seeking the public's input on proposed changes to travel management and recreation activities, and proposed stream habitat improvement actions in the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project area.
As part of the scoping process for this project, the public can provide comments by mail, fax, or email to:
Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project
Pikes Peak Ranger District
601 S. Weber Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
(719) 477-4233 fax
Comments will also be accepted at the Open House held on Thursday, April 4th, 2013 from 4:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the Leon Young Service Center (1521 Hancock Expressway, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903).
Comments on this project will be most useful if received no later than April 30, 2013. Only those individuals who provide comment or otherwise express interest by the close of the comment period may be eligible to appeal or object to the decision pursuant to regulations at 36 CFR Part 215 or 36 CFR Part 218. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection.
Please see attached documents for details on the upcoming Open House and a summary of the proposed action.
The U.S. Forest Service is holding an open house on their proposal for trails and access in the Bear Creek watershed. The open house is Thursday, April 4, 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, at the Leon Young Service Center for CS Utilities, Pikes Peak Room, 1521 Hancock Expressway.
The proposal would affect all user groups, hikers, bikers, equestrians, and motorized users. The Forest Service is seeking comments from all users.
The proposed changes are in response to the issues surrounding the greenback cutthroat trout in Bear Creek. Under the proposal, the Forest Service would close a total of 6.4 miles of trails and re-route some of these by constructing 2.9 miles of new trails. Trails affected by closures include trails 666, 667, 668, 701, 720A and 622A. Theses closures would be to all users. The proposal also converts 0.6 miles of non-motorized trail on Seven Bridges, 622, to motorized use.
The current ban prohibiting camping and campfires in the watershed would become long-term, and access would be restricted to on-route only.
As you can see, these changes would affect all trail users. The Forest Service wants your comments. Please try to attend the open house, 4 to 9 pm, Thurs, April 4.
It's an open house, so you can stop by, learn more, and provide your thoughts anytime in the 5 hours, and stay as short or as long as you want.
You can find the assessment, maps of current trails and the proposed system, and other information on the USFS web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/psicc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5397304
Links for the documents and maps are at the bottom of that page. You can also go to the USFS web page for the Pike and San Isabel Forests, scroll to the bottom, and find the link for the Bear Creek Watershed Assessment.
As this impacts one of our most celebrated trails, I would encourage you to take a look at the proposals and attend the event.
We are excited to announce that Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates has been accepted to the 2012 Indy Give! campaign that runs until December 31. This is a big step forward for MWTA in terms of fundraising, and coincides with a big change in our organization. MWTA has been working with land managers in the Pikes Peak Region for over 20 years, to build and maintain trails and ensure continued access to recreation areas that we love. Recent events have put more pressure on our trails and require that we significantly increase our capacity:
- Severe reductions in City parks budgets means that all our trails must be cared for by volunteer groups. We need to be part of this process in every park, to ensure that we develop and maintain trails for all users including mountain bikes.
- The forest closure due to the Waldo Canyon Fire will be lifted in the next year, and we need to be ready to repair old trails and develop new ones where appropriate. For now the closures have put more pressure on existing trails that will need extra love over the next few years.
- New access to Colorado Springs Utilities lands means opportunities for new amazing trails on the slopes of Pikes Peak, including the Lake Moraine Trail connecting Barr Trail to Jones Park.
- New riding styles have clearly demonstrated the demand for more extreme terrain for gravity oriented recreation. Until now the unfortunate result has been illegal, unsustainable and sometimes unsafe trails where they cannot stay. Land managers recognize the need for properly built, sustainable downhill trails in Colorado Springs, as skills parks have had success all around the country. We need to work more closely with land managers instead of building illegal trails that can’t be maintained.
These are the reason MWTA must increase our capacity over the next few years, and we need your help to do it. We need more tools, more trained crew leaders, and more volunteers to work with land managers to make the right decisions. We ask you to support us through the Indy Give! campaign. It's a perfect time to donate to MWTA because, thanks to generous mathcing grants from SRAM and SRM-USA, every dollar you give is worth $1.55.
Bear Creek update - there have been lots of questions about the recent biological studies showing a unique sub-species of Greenback Cutthroat trout in the Bear Creek drainage.
- There is not likely to be a change to access to Bear Creek in the next 2 years as a full watershed assessment is performed and impacts are evaluated.
- Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates is cooperating with the City, Forest Service, and Fish and Wildlife in their process to deal with this new information.
MWTA's Response to the Discovery of an Illegal Downhill Mountain Bike Trail in Garden of the Gods Park
Dear Mountain Biking Community,
Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates is sending you this message with deep concern for the future of mountain biking in Colorado Springs.
Recently, an off-duty city park ranger was hiking in Garden of the Gods Park in a relatively undeveloped area near Rampart Range Road and came across several individuals hacking away at trying to build a "radical downhill" trail. You know, the kind you might see at a ski area, with gap jumps, straight down the fall line, big rocks, etc. These people had no authorization, had chopped down trees, moved boulders, and had generally made a real mess of things. As most of you know, mountain biking in most of Garden of the Gods is specifically banned, so you probably couldn't pick a worse place to build a renegade trail.
Starting Summer 2012 - Lake Moraine Trail - "The Missing Link" on Pikes Peak's South Slope
We announced this project in late 2010, but in early 2011 received news that one last permit was required in order to move forward. We needed permission from the PUC for the crossing of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Well, the wheels sometimes turn slowly in the public process world, but we just receved the final permit in February of 2012! Thanks to Spencer at the Cog, the people at the City Parks Department, and everyone else involved in getting the PUC application approved.
The South Slope property on Pikes Peak is a 9,000 acre parcel owned by the City of Colorado Springs and until recently managed exclusively by CS Utilities. It has been closed to the public for over 100 years. Now, however, CSU and the City of Colorado Springs have decided to open the South Slope to public access!
There are several recreation projects being built, but Medicine Wheel has been chosen by the City Parks Department and CSU to be the lead partner on building a new trail that will connect Barr Trail to Jones Park and Cheyenne Canon. We're calling it the Lake Moraine Trail - the Missing Link, (until it's formally named by the city).
This is an exciting project that will open up all kinds of new recreational opportunities in the Pikes Peak Region.
Josh Osterhoudt 1949-2012
It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of a visionary and truly inspirational figure in the Pikes Peak region mountain biking scene. Josh Osterhoudt, along with several other local mountain biking figures, was one of the founding members of Medicine Wheel, back in the days before IMBA even existed, and was its President until 2004. He was also the Eastern Colorado representative for IMBA for many years in the late 90's and early 2000's. Most recently, he was the manager of Bristol Brewery, which has always supported MWTA with some of the finest beer on the front range. While he had more recently stepped back from active involvement with MWTA, Josh was always available for thoughts, advice, and a good laugh. And he was a good friend. We'll miss you, Josh.
A Big Thank You to our Sponsors & Volunteers!
Over the last few years, MWTA has benefitted from the volunteer efforts of over 100 people. We just want to say "thank you" to everyone who helped out. Through your efforts, big and small, mountain biking is alive and healthy in the Pikes Peak region.
MWTA would also like to thank the following for their very generous donations of time, labor, and cold, hard cash: The Pikes Peak Community Foundation, Whole Foods Market, Bristol Brewery, REI, Inc., El Paso County, SRAM, LSI Logic, The Classic Companies, The Colorado Springs Cycling Club, Sigma Metals, Suzanne DeVore and Mark Seaton, and numerous other volunteers who have donated to MWTA.
To read more about these donors and their contributions, click here.
We couldn't do it without so much support from our community. Thank you!
Welcome Back the Bike Patrol
The Medicine Wheel branch of the national bike patrol has returned. Thanks to Ryan Kohler, MW will be running the patrol again soon. If you would like to be an ambassador for the sport and get to ride at the same time, this is for you! For more information, please visit the patrol page here.
New Pueblo Reservoir Maps
Since a lot of us like to ride the south shore trails at Pueblo Reservoir in the winter, MWTA has put up a new set of detailed maps on our maps page. Go here for a copy.
Red Rocks Canyon Park - The Next Step - Freeride/Skills Area
See our successes page for some history on Red Rocks Park.
For 2009, we teamed of with the help of SRAM Corporation and built the C Line trail in Red Rocks Canyon Park. These are BIG jumps and tabletops with lots of vertical. It's on the hill above the skills park, just east of the main parking lot.
Here's the summary of the master plan on the City's web site.
Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, Inc. is now recognized as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation by the IRS. That means that we can now accept donations and those donations will be tax-deductible by the donor. Click to find out more
The process of developing and building a workable and desirable trail system involves many elements and quite a bit of time and effort. The following guide is intended to help interested groups navigate through this complex process.
By Mountainland Association of Governments, Utah
Trails 101: How Do We Get Started Building Trails?
1. Have political leaders (mayor, city council), in a public meeting, provide for the formation of a Public Advisory Group (PAG) that is recognized by the city. City Staff and the PAG should then be charged with the responsibilities of identifying and creating a trails plan, and recommending that system for adoption into the City Master Plan by city council action. A public advisory committee will provide invaluable public input into the design and selection process, and provide a "citizens view" to the planning process.
2. Identify political allies that will champion trails planning and help push through adoption and implementation. The mayor or members of the city council, or planning commission are vital allies. Local business leaders or other influential and out spoken people should lead this work.