Blodgett Master plan public process
Last OPPORTUNITY for public input coming soon
Final survey is closed – last chance for comments January 2024
The final draft of the master plan is being prepared following input from community meetings and stakeholder input. It will be shared with the public by the end of December 2023, with a month for public input before it goes to the TOPS working committee and Parks board for approval. The project team continues to receive significant opposition to the plan especially from some neighbors who don’t want to see Blodgett improved, with much-needed, responsible recreation opportunities in balance with conservation of natural resources and public access. We will let you know when the final round of public comment is open, so that you can share your ideas about the plan. For now, MedWheel and others on the stakeholder action committee are providing input on the plan so far, overall it looks very good, especially the new opportunities for separated use trails – MTB-DH only trails in the southern section adjacent to the quarry, and some hiking only trails in the north closer to Blodgett Peak itself. And, multi-use trail connections from North to South.
Some things to keep in mind:
- The Blodgett planning process does not include the Pikeview Quarry, which is still under reclamation and is still planned to be donated to the city of COS once reclamation is completed, estimated for 2025. After that donation, an additional planning process would begin, to plan for our community’s world class bike park on the Pikeview site.
- The existing Fenceline trail crosses between USFS National Forest (not part of this planning process) and the city’s Blodgett OS (the focus of this planning process). At this time no changes are planned to the portion of Fenceline on USFS property. The proposed draft plan shows removal of Fenceline on city property – and shows it being replaced with multiple DH-only MTB trails, including a flow trail and multiple options for tech trail. The new “Fenceline 2.0” on city property would be professionally constructed and should include multiple options for different skill levels. Some users who love Fenceline today may be alarmed at the prospect of any changes at all. City staff has been clear that some changes are coming due to the degree of erosion that occurs on this steep trail, and the corresponding maintenance that is needed to stabilize the hillside. We believe that the city and the plan facilitators understand the unique characteristics of Fenceline and are committed to creating new trails that will appeal to users AND reduce erosion. Fenceline 2.0 will continue to take advantage of the long uphill and downhill terrain that is possible here, and will include grade separated crossings in the trail system to reduce user conflicts. Riding options will include fast, steep and tech sections as well as flow trail with air features. What do you think? Please bring an open mind and share your feedback with the team constructively.
- As of today, here are the commitments from US Forest Service regarding the Blodgett process. Some highlights – the USFS does not have capacity to undertake their planning processes on the adjacent USFS lands, within the time frame of the city’s Blodgett master plan. Forest Service trail planning will require NEPA analysis and will be completed in the future. As of today, the USFS does not plan to close non-system trails adjacent to Blodgett (this would include the portion of the current Fenceline trail on USFS property) until replacement recreation trails can be constructed. There is no guarantee that this won’t change in the future but for now this isn’t a priority for USFS.
- Bighorn sheep lambing areas north of Blodgett OS toward Blodgett Peak are not part of the city’s planning process. It is possible that seasonal lambing closures on National Forest could be required in future, after additional analysis by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. It is not envisioned that seasonal closures will be required on the city’s Blodgett OS Property.
Link to MedWheel input and talking points from the beginning of the process and after the 8/22 public meeting with 2 Alternative maps: here.
Here are the Alternative maps that were shared by the planning team at the Aug 22, 2023 public meeting.
More Blodgett info:
Link to the city’s master plan info page.
Link the city staff’s presentation on Blodgett at the TOPS working committee meeting October 4 2023.
Here is the original schedule for the master plan.
You can download the kickoff presentation from the April 5th 2023 TOPS working committee meeting:
History and Overview
Adapted from the city’s website: Blodgett Open Space is 388 acres of open space, trails, and wildlife habitat neighboring the Pikes National Forest. The original Blodgett Open Space land was purchased through the City of Colorado Springs Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program and funding in March 2001. A second acquisition to the southeast, the Slatterly property, was incorporated in 2018, bringing in a second parking lot and trail access location. Most recently in 2021, additional land was acquired to extend the land further south, with boundaries along the Pikeview Quarry and Allegheny Road. Located in the foothills of the Front Range, the property has outstanding views of Colorado Springs to the east and Blodgett Peak to the northwest. The property is bordered on three sides by the Pike National Forest, which provides an excellent natural buffer and habitat continuity for wildlife.
The original master plan for Blodgett can be found here. In 2019 following the second (Slattery) acquisition, an interim use plan was created for the combined space. Here’s the city’s current trail map. Additional plans that are relevant for Blodgett include the 2003 Forest Health and Management Plan and the 2014 Parks System Master Plan.
Blodgett map courtesy of MedWheel volunteer and former board member Mike Rigney.
Unique considerations around Blodgett OS
A key characteristic of Blodgett is its elevation change due to its location at on the western edge of the city in the foothills abutting the Pike National Forest. The elevation on the property lends itself to long climbs and long descents.
The planning area for this process includes the Pikeview quarry frontage property – shown in yellow and purchased with TOPS funds in 2020 and 2021 – as well as the area to the north with the existing trail network. The actual Pikeview quarry property will not be part of this process, but will have a planning process after reclamation is finished and the land is transferred to the city of Colorado Springs. Much of the land surrounding Blodgett is US Forest Service property and also won’t have trails planned part of this city process. At a future unspecified date the USFS will discuss trails in that space but for now we must consider what future connections on the National Forest look like.
Master plan pre-process community input
MedWheel began colleting user suggestions in preparation for the master plan process in early 2023. This has helped to form our recommendations as an invited stakeholder in the process.
If you have suggestions or questions please email us firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about MedWheel projects, check here.