Since 1991, volunteers from Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates have advocated for the rights of mountain bikers to use public lands in the Pike Peak Region. This means attending a myriad of public meetings, meeting one on one with land managers & partners, and monitoring public land decision-making processes.
By the time we schedule a Trail Love volunteer work day, the MedWheel team has spent many hours preparing for the work, and likely many months and even years advocating for a new trail opportunity. Many of our long term projects have taken years to develop to fruition have required constant engagement and diligence.
Master Planning Processes
In our region, most trails on public land are subject to a lengthy master plan process. Why? Land managers have a responsibility to ensure safety for users and longevity of a public resource, even before considering recreational opportunities. When it’s time to consider recreation on public land, the needs of all rec users must be fairly evaluated, and all stakeholders must have their chance to share their preferences. Once a master plan is made, it might take years to implement, since the planning process often doesn’t include resources necessary to construct new trails or other facilities.
Some examples of Master Plan Processes in which MedWheel has participated on behalf of trail users include the 2014 city of Colorado Springs Parks System Master Plan, the 2016 Manitou Springs Parks, Open Space and Trails (POST) plan, individual plans such as Ute, Austin Bluffs-Pulpit Rock, North Cheyenne Canyon, Red Rock Canyon and Stratton.
Bear Creek Round Table
The Bear Creek Roundtable has been meeting since 2012, driven by the need to protect the Greenback Cutthroat Trout – our state fish, listed as ‘Threatened’ in the Federal Endangered Species Act. The USFS NEPA final assessment for Bear Creek was published in 2013.
The roundtable continues to meet occasionally in conjunction with the ongoing El Paso County’s Jones Park master planning process.
Waldo Canyon Planning Process
Re-Imagine Waldo was a community visioning process that will feed into the formal NEPA process for the US Forest Service property. NEPA will be the formal USFS process required for re-opening Waldo, which was closed after the 2013 fire. Just to re-emphasize this point – this was a process to gather community input but was not proposing solutions that will be implemented by land managers, those still require additional formal master planning by city of COS and USFS.
MWTA has represented mountain bikers and all trail users throughout the Waldo discussions. We will keep you posted when more opportunities to weigh in arise.