CS Utilities North Slope Recreation Area Updates

CS Utilities North Slope property includes the 2 Catamount reservoirs and trails in the area. MedWheel has been actively advocating for additional trails for several years and we’ve developed plans that are approved for some trail improvements (specifically on the Limberpine trail – these plans were put on hold temporarily for mitigation work but we but alignments are ready and plans are in works to get digging).

MedWheel has advocated with the land managers for expansion of the trail network, which really is an amazing opportunity close to town in beautiful surroundings on public land. Utilities has determined that additional planning will be needed for this, and the planning effort will be undertaken in coordination with the rehabilitation of the dam described below.

This area is owned by the city of Colorado Springs Utilities, and for some years, recreational activities have been the responsibility of the Pikes Peak Highway. Recently there has been increased interest in commercial guiding in the area, especially for on-water activities – kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing. Because of this, CSU has decided to take a closer look at commercial permitting for the area. MedWheel has been a stakeholder in these discussions, requesting that commercial permits are priced so that they can provide new funds to be used for maintenance of the area. In these meetings there was wide agreement that commercial trails should always include an element of Leave No Trace training – letting visitors know the right ways to visit our awesome recreation amenities.

Here is the flyer that Utilities shared at a recent stakeholder meeting.

Things to note:

  • Crystal reservoir is closed now but will be open by 2024 for recreational access. At this time no commercial use on Crystal is contemplated
  • Vehicle access to North and South Catamount reservoirs will not be permitted for most of 2024 and 2025, as CSU works to improve the South Catamount dam. Because of the location of the road, access to both reservoirs will be impoacted
  • Trail access to Limberpine and other existing trails in the area will still be possible while the road is closed, subject to specific work being done that might impact a trail for a short time.
  • Future discussions about commercial use in the area are ongoing. Guided trail use permits are not impossible with the adaptive framework that has been proposed. MedWheel has asked that a trail plan for the area be created in conjunction with any consideration of guided trail use.
  • A planning process with limited scope for the area is expected in the next 2-3 years. We will share our proposals for new trails during that process

We will continue to share information as more becomes available.

If you have questions or suggestions about this or any other trail projects please let us know.

To learn about other MedWheel trail advocacy projects, check here.