Bear Creek Watershed Meeting and Feedback

February 25th, 2014

Pipeline Trail

The trails in the Bear Creek drainage are some of the most popular trails in the Pikes Peak region. Recent testing has revealed that the fish in Bear Creek (approximately 750 adults) are the sole remaining genetically pure population of greenback cutthroat trout. The population is currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It seems strange that such a heavily used area is the only place that the fish have survived.

I’ve been hiking and riding these trails for over 25 years. Here’s a Jones Park ride report from a couple years ago. The Ring the Peak mountain bike race also uses these trails.

The US Forest Service was sued by environmental groups for not sufficiently protected these fish. In the fall of 2012, Bear Creek Trail (666) and Captain Jacks Trail (667) were closed to dirt bikes and camping was prohibited in the area.

Last fall the Forest Service got public input on trail closures to all users and alternative re-routes. Now they’re getting public input on proposed changes.

There’s an open house tonight (2/25/14) at the Colorado Springs Utilities’ Leon Young Service Center, 1521 Hancock Expressway from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. If you can’t make tonight’s meeting, you use the comment link on their web page through March 27th..

There’s information about the proposed trail and access changes on the Bear Creek Watershed Assessment & NEPA page on the Forest Service website. The good news is they’re proposing rerouting trails and not completely closing the area although it appears Jones Park itself would be off-limits. It appears to me from the maps that Alternative B keeps most of trail 666 except for the cool section right near the current Captain Jack intersection. Alternative C shows 666 as being closed which would be a real bummer.

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Friends of Ute Valley Park

April 19th, 2013

Ute Valley Park

I live close to Ute Valley Park. It’s a beautiful 338 acre open space surrounded by neighborhoods but it’s easy to feel like you’re outside the city. I’ve been mountain biking in it for years and now that I live close I hike in it with my family.

Ute Valley is a popular with hikers, runners and mountain bikers. It has become more heavily used since the Waldo Canyon Fire closed Mountain Shadows Open Space and Blodgett Peak Open Space.

Most people don’t know that about the eastern half of the area is not part of the park but is owned by HP. There are a few No Trespassing signs near trails at the HP property boundary but people have freely used trails on HP property. Last summer’s Pro XCT in Ute Valley Park course included trails on the HP property.

Concerns about the HP property being developed and the increase in social trails prompted the creation of the Friends of Ute Valley Park (FUVP) last fall. Ute Valley has been the last Colorado Springs open space without a friends group.

Friends of Ute Valley Park Earth Day FlyerI’ve been working on the Friends of Ute Valley Park website the last couple months. I still have plenty to do on it but we’re using it post new on the park. We also have a FUVP Facebook page.

Tomorrow, Saturday April 20th, there will be an Earth Day event at the Ute Valley Park parking lot on Vindicator 9-11 AM. The park ranger, Friends of Ute Valley Park and Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates will be there with information. There will also be a brief maintenance project and park clean up. Please come out and join us.


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Trails Around Jones Park Could be Closed

April 4th, 2013

Jones Park Above Colorado Springs

Last year it was determined that the 750 greenback cutthroat trout living in Bear Creek near Jones park are the only genetically pure greenback cutthroat left. The US Forest Service was sued by environmental groups for not sufficiently protected these fish. Last fall Bear Creek Trail (666) and Captain Jacks Trail (667) were closed to dirt bikes and camping was prohibited in the area.

I’ve been hiking and riding these trails for over 25 years. Here’s a Jones Park ride report from a couple years ago. The Ring the Peak mountain bike race also uses these trails.

Now the Forest Service is proposing closing 3.5 miles of trail along Bear Creek to all users. While I’m for protecting the fish and agree there’s still erosion problems in spite of all the work the dirt bike groups have done, I have trouble believing closing the trails is necessary.

It seems strange that such a heavily used area is the only place that the fish have survived. Since they have survived, why is it necessary to close the trails? It seems that rerouting the trail in places and adding more erosion control should be sufficient.

The USFS has a webpage with a several detailed documents on the assessment process. The detailed trail assessment includes a map of the affected trails.

The proposal has some possible trail reroutes and at least one would allow connection to the proposed Missing Link Trail which would be really cool to have completed. The information on these possible reroutes start on page 74 of the trail assessment document. Medicine Wheel has some good comments on the proposals.

Tonight, Thursday March 4th, there will be an Open House from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Leon Young Service Center (1521 Hancock Expressway, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903).

If you can’t make the open house, you can provide comments through April 30th, 2013 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
bcc@fs.fed.us

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Manitou Incline No Trespassing Sign Photo Opp

February 22nd, 2013

Manitou Incline No Trespassing Sign Removed

The No Trespassing sign was removed from the Manitou Incline the end of January since the Incline became legal to hike on February 1st. The Incline Friends are giving you an opportunity this weekend to get your photo with the Incline No Trespassing sign one last time.

This Saturday and Sunday, February 23rd and 24th, the Incline Friends will have the old Manitou Incline No Trespassing sign at the bottom of the Incline from 7 AM until 11 AM. Donate at least $5 to help with maintaining the Incline and they’ll take your picture alongside the sign.

They’ll e-mail the photo to you or they can use your camera if you like. No limit to the number of people in the shot so bring your friends. This will be your last opportunity to get a photo with the sign and the Incline before it’s retired to the Pioneers Museum.

If you plan on heading up the Incline after getting a photo, be very careful. After a dry winter, the snows the last couple weeks have finally made the Incline snowy and icy. Make sure you have traction devices such as Stabilicers Lite, Yaktrax or Kahtoola Microspikes .

Speaking of the Incline and snow, Roger Austin shared some great photos from this morning’s sunrise on the Incline. I really wish I would have been up there to see it.

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UpaDowna Incline Happy Hour

February 7th, 2013

UpaDowna Incline Happy Hour

This is the first Thursday since the Manitou Incline was legalized. This means it’ll be the first legal UpaDowna Incline Happy hour. However until time change next month, the dawn to dusk rule will be broken.

The Incline Happy Hour was started a few years ago by the great folks at UpaDowna. Their motto is “Up a Mountain, Downa a Beer”. Their goal is to get more people in the outdoors.

Now that the Manitou Incline is legal, UpaDowna is encouraging more people to join them. They start at the bottom tie of the Incline (directions) at 6 PM and hike to the top of the Incline.

The hike takes place year round but know your limitations as the Incline can get icy and treacherous in the winter. It’s a self paced hike and not a race. It doesn’t matter what your fitness level. Generally people hang out at the top for a bit and then most head down Barr Trail.

Until time change you’ll need a headlamp to be able to see in the dark. You can also get by with a flashlight but then your hands aren’t free for balance.

Afterwards head to Kinfolks Mountain Shop in Manitou Springs. Enjoy one of the micro brews they have on tap or us hang out with other outdoor lovers. It’s located just east of Ruxton at 950 Manitou Avenue.

Although it’s free to join the Incline Happy Hour, you need to register and sign the waiver on Eventbrite. Not only is it a fun time, but there may be prizes for signing up and staying motivated throughout the year.

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Exploring the Grand Canyon with Google Street View

February 1st, 2013

Grand Canyon Street View

Back in October Google had posted on their blog that they had a team hiking in the Grand Canyon to get imagery for Street View. I figured they were just doing a couple of the main trails. They now have 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads live in Google Maps.

The Google team their Android-operated Trekkers to take the imagery. They carried 40-pound backpacks with the 15-lens camera system. More than 9,500 panoramas are now available on Google Maps.

In 2006 and 2008 I did week long backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon. I went west farther than most people go for the first trip. The trail was hard to find and I didn’t see anyone for 3 days. The 2nd trip I hiked the eastern part of the Grand Canyon and even went a little east of where the National Park ends.

I can tell you there’s no way to comprehend the size of the canyon looking at a computer screen. Still I have to say what Google has done is pretty cool.

Some cool places to check out are the bridge across the Colorado River to Phantom Canyon, Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail and the Meteor Crater. Maybe those will motivate you to take an adventure of your own in the Grand Canyon.

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Incline Friends Karma Hour Photos

January 17th, 2013

Bristol Brewing held the Incline Friends Karma Hour fund raiser Tuesday evening. They donated $1 of every pint to the Incline Friends. It was crowded while I was there. It was good seeing people I know and meeting some other Manitou Incline lovers.

Other ways to help the Incline Friends is to join them, donate using the donate link on their website or putting money into the tube at the bottom of the Incline.

Here are some photos from the Incline Friends Karma Hour.

Incline Friends Karma Hour

January 14th, 2013

Manitou Incline Christmas Tree

Last week President Obama signed the law clearing up the railway right-of-way issue with the Manitou Incline. The Colorado Springs council also passed the needed resolution for legalizing the Incline for hiking. The only step remaining to legalizing the Incline is a resolution by the Manitou Springs city council. Manitou Springs council is expected to vote on January 29th.

Although I think there are plans to do more than is needed, I noticed several loose ties when I hiked the Incline yesterday. Stabilizing some sections need to be done soon or more work will need to be done. The Incline Friends are tasked with raising money to repair and maintain the Incline.

Total cost to implement the Incline Management Plan will run about $1 million, and the Incline Friends need $200,000 of that by the first week of March to meet a critical grant deadline. They expect much of it to come from private donors, but not all of it.

There are a few ways to help the Incline Friends raise money. Tomorrow night there’s a fun one. The Incline Friends Karma Hour will be at Bristol Brewery (1647 S. Tejon) from 5 to 9 PM Tuesday, Jan. 15. Bristol will donate $1 to the Incline Friends for every pint sold. Click here for more on the Incline Friends Karma Hour.

Other ways to help the Incline Friends is to join them, donate using the donate link on their website or putting money into the tube at the bottom of the Incline.

Below are some photos from hiking the Manitou Incline on December 16, 2012. It has become a tradition for people to hang Christmas ornaments on one of the trees at the top of the Incline. With the dry winter there was very little snow on the Incline itself or Barr Trail in December. With the cold and little snow of the last couple weeks, there was more snow on it yesterday afternoon and more fell overnight.

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Manitou Incline Expected to be Legal Next Month

January 4th, 2013

Manitou Incline No Trespassing Sign

After 4 years and much hard work by many people the Manitou Incline is expected to be legal for hiking on February 1st, 2013. The U.S. Senate approved a bill clearing up the railway right of way issue for the Incline late Sunday. Sen. Michael Bennet pushed the bill in the Senate and Rep. Doug Lamborn led the effort in the House where the bill passed back in July.

The Manitou Incline management plan identified 13 key steps to complete before the Incline could be made legal. Now that all of those steps have been taken, the only things remaining are for Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs to pass resolutions making hiking it legal. The Colorado Springs City Council is expected to vote on the resolution at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Manitou Springs has indicated it will vote on resolution during a Special Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

“As we look at closing this chapter of the process with a vote to legalize the Incline from the City of Colorado Springs and the City of Manitou Springs’ City Councils, we can begin the next chapter in our process – improving the Incline,” said Sarah Bryarly, Landscaping Architect and Project Manager for the City of Colorado Springs.

The Incline Friends is the non-profit tasked with fundraising for improving the Incline and have been a big part of legalizing the Incline. Incline Friends will need your help in a major fundraising push. Total cost to implement the plan will run about $1 million and they need $200,000 of that by the first week of March to meet a critical grant deadline. They expect much of this to come from private donors but not all of it.

They’ll start with the Incline Friends Karma Hour, 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Bristol Brewery (1647 S. Tejon). Bristol will donate $1 to the Incline Friends for every pint sold.

In the meantime, I’d like to encourage you to join Incline Friends and/or make an online contribution (find the PayPal “Donate” link on the main page of the Incline Friends website.) There’s also a donation tube at the bottom of the Incline that you can throw in a buck or more when you hike the Incline.

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Black Friday Outdoor and Cycling Gear Deals 2012

November 22nd, 2012

Here’s a list of outdoor and cycling related deals for Black Friday and through the weekend to Cyber Monday. Some of the deals are already available and some are just on Black Friday or Cyber Monday so check the details.

A couple big deals are 40% off regular priced items and 20% off sale items at Konasports and up to 30% off at Sierra Trading Post. See list below for coupon codes. The list is alphabetical by store name.

Altrec

Backcountry.com

Backcountry.com is running a few different sales through 11/28/12 with up to 70% off and includes free 2-day shipping on $50+ orders.

Bike Nashbar

Take an extra 20% off orders over $50 including bikes and frames through Sunday with code 72635. Some exclusions. Free shipping on Monday and Tuesday with code 43841 on orders over $25.

Climb High

25% off Rab, Patagonia, Brooks Range & ISIS. 20% Off All Ice Climbing Gear. Free shipping and free returns on all orders. Deals run Thursday through Monday.

CycloCamping.com

DC

Spend $125 and Get $25 OFF Your Next Order & Free Shipping. Offer Expires 11/26 at Midnight.

Derailed

15% Off Sitewide on Snowboard and Ski Apparel and Accessories and More.

Dogfunk

Equipe Sport

Getz

Save up to 50% on The North Face + Free Shipping over $75. Good through 12/1/12.

Giantnerd

Up to 80% off bike and outdoor gear.

Half-Moon Outfitters

Save an Extra 20% Off Select The North Face Items through 12/3 while supplies last, with promo code: tnfsale. Free Shipping on orders over $49!

Icebreaker

Jenson USA

Lots of great bike and bike accessory deals.

Konasports

Get 40% of regular priced with coupon code BCW40 and 20% off sale items with code BCW20. Excludes UGG, Oakley and Nixon . Free 2 day priority shipping in the US excluding oversize items. Click here to visit Konasports.

Moosejaw

Save 20% on almost everything at Moosejaw. No code necessary! Deal excludes some brands. Ends 11/25/12.

Pactimo

30% Off Cycling Apparel – Jerseys, Jackets & More! Sale runs through Monday.

Performance Bikes

Door busters in every category including bikes. Take an extra 20% off items other than door busters and bikes. Ends Sunday. $20 off orders over $100 on Monday.

Peter Glenn

Extra 20% off sale items on Monday with coupon code CYBMON12. Excludes skis, ski boots and ski bindings.

ProBoardShop

Up to 70% Off Snowboards, Skis, Outerwear, and much more through Monday. Click here to see.

Real Cyclist

Biggest Sale of the Season – Up to 50% Off thousands of bike items.

REI

Save on Gear with REI’s Cyber Monday Deals! Online only at REI.com. Save 50% on all REI Brand Outerwear for Men, Women, Kids on Friday only.

Rock Creek

Sierra Trading Post

Soul Poles

Get 20% off custom ski poles and free shipping with coupon code cybersoul.

Tahoe Mountain Sports

30% Off All Patagonia Clothing for Black Friday-Cyber Monday AND Get Free Shipping Too. Ends Monday. Also check their sale page.

The Clymb

Get the best prices of the year Monday only. Expires 11/27/2012 At 8:00AM PST.

TriVillage

20% Off Almost Everything for Running, Cycling & Swimming + Free Shipping over $75 w/ code: BLACKFRIDAY20. Ends Monday night.




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