Bear Creek Trail Closure Proposals

March 25th, 2014

Jones Park

A few weeks ago the Forest Service had an open house about proposed trail closures due to the greenback cutthroat trout in Bear Creek. I’m not convinced they’ve studied the impacts of the trail well enough to say they’re a problem but because of settling a lawsuit with environmental groups it probably doesn’t matter what the impact is. The US Fish and Wildlife Service must approve any trail work in the Bear Creek drainage including current trail maintenance.

At the open house, 3 alternatives were shown. Alternative A is the current trail system and we know that there’s very little chance the trails will remain the same in the future. Alternatives B and C have various trail closures and re-routes.

Both new alternatives would still allow the “Missing Link” trail to be created to link Barr Trail to the Jones Park area but would make it longer because of going around Jones Park and I believe add an uphill section. Also with both proposals, High Drive would be closed to vehicle traffic but would be open to non-motorized use.

Alternative B has all of Jones Park off limits and the upper part of Bear Creek Trail (666) closed. A trail re-route from Pipeline would keep Captain Jacks away from Bear Creek and connect where Captain Jacks currently drops down from the ridge to the creek and intersects with 666. A connector would be created from Buckhorn over to 666 near Josephine Falls.

I believe Alternative C is the same as Alternative B except that all of Bear Creek Trail (666) would be closed. I don’t think you’ll find it surprising that I don’t like this plan.

One part of “Alternative B” that I’m not sure is necessary is the complete closure of Jones Park at least to non-motorized use as that area is flatter and doesn’t have nearly the erosion issues of lower on Cap’n Jacks. Most of Jones Park is Colorado Springs Utilities land and I don’t think they want to make sure they have no risk with the greenback cutthroat trout.

One effect of closing Jones Park is access to Mt. Arthur and Mt. Garfield will be more difficult. It would be nice if a trail could be built from the Section 16 area to allow more access into that area. Also there are ruins of historic buildings in the Jones Park area that would be off limits.

It’s not clear how long it will be before the whatever plan is approved will be implemented. The US Fish and Wildlife Service have until late summer to approve the plan the Forest Service submits to them.

I talked to Forest Ranger Allan Hahn at the meeting last month about how soon trail re-routes could be done after a plan was approved. Although the Forest Service doesn’t have money for the changes, he believes the plan could be implemented in a matter of weeks since so many people are willing to volunteer to get access to the area. I’m not optimistic that with all the government red tape that volunteers would be turned loose to get the re-routes done that quickly.

Now it’s time to move forward and get the best possible trails under the circumstances. Input on the proposals can be sent to the Forest Service by emailing bcc@fs.fed.us, faxing (719) 477-4233 or mailing. Comments must be received by March 27th, 2014. One thing a found from talking to the Forest Service is they don’t understand very well how people use the trails and that it would be helpful to them to know more.

The Gazette did an article that includes some of history of the Bear Creek area. Someone who is fighting against any closures also has history on the area with historic photos. At this point, I don’t believe fighting the changes is productive but the page has some interesting information.

Below is the letter the the Peak Mtb Collective has been asking people to sign at the informational meetings they’ve held. Use it as is or as a starting point for your feedback to the Forest Service. Also go to the Peak Mtb Collective page and sign up for email updates on the Bear Creek drainage trails and other Colorado Springs area trail issues.

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Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project
Pikes Peak Ranger District
601 S. Weber Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
719-477-4233
bcc@fs.fed.us

In reviewing the proposed changes to travel management and recreational activities and the improvement actions for the stream habitat in the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project (BCWRP) area, I understand that the project’s purpose is to protect the greenback cutthroat trout as well as to maintain a balance among the many trail user groups. The area in question has a well-established, recognized trail system that is important to the outdoor lifestyle for which the Pikes Peak region is known.

As an avid user of the Bear Creek area and Pikes Peak region trail systems, I am aware of the important balance we share with our eco-system. I have read full through the proposed BCWRP proposals and I support “Alternative B” as the action plan for implementation by the Pikes Peak Ranger District. I believe “Alternative B” supports the objective of protecting the greenback cutthroat trout as well as offering a balance between access and use of this vast trail system.

Acknowledging that change is needed in the area, “Alternative A” offers little compromise regarding the ecological concerns of the project. “Alternative C” offers limited compromise by significantly limiting trail access including the complete closure of trail 666. I believe either of these plans hinders involved groups’ respective goals and could have negative long term effects.

I want to thank everyone involved in the project and look forward to seeing “Alternative B” move forward. I also extend myself as a resource in the implementation of “Alternative B” in the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project.

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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Free National Parks Days 2014

January 19th, 2014

Navajo Arch in Arches National Park

Navajo Arch in Arches National Park

133 of the 401 national parks charge an entrance fee but the National Park Service has a few free days a year. For 2014 the first free day is Monday, January 20th for Martin Luther King Day. You can find the parks that normally charge a fee but are free on these days on this list.

Free National Park Days 2014

  • January 20 -Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 15-17 – Presidents Day weekend
  • April 19-20 – opening weekend of National Park Week
  • August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
  • September 27 – National Public Lands Day
  • November 11 – Veterans Day

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What Colorado Springs Projects are Important?

October 25th, 2013

Mount View on Cog Railway

Nick Kittle wants to know what’s important to the people of Colorado Springs. Nick used to work for Colorado Springs doing sustainability stuff but now runs his own company, Sustainovation LLC.

To find out what’s important to Colorado Springs residents, Nick created a survey with 22 possible local projects. You can chose up to 5 and rank them in importance. There’s also a box to add something that’s not on the list. It’s not an official survey but Nick likes to get things done and has connections so it’s a good way to get your voice heard.

There are several outdoor related projects including Manitou Incline improvements. I’m not sure the Incline needs to be improved but it does need to be stabilized and maintained so it doesn’t deteriorate further. Other outdoor projects include Ring the Peak (Pikes Peak), Implement the Bike Master Plan, Bike share program and Pikes Peak Greenway improvements (including waterway fixes/trail, etc).

There are a couple projects I like that aren’t on the survey. One is the trails on the South Slope of Pikes Peak that’s dragged on for years now. The other is the Missing Link Trail (temporary name) from Barr Trail over to Jones Park. That’s a trail that was approved a couple years ago but has been mired in red tape.

Deadline to complete the survey is tonight, Friday October 25th at midnight. Go fill out the survey and get your voice heard!

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Current Outdoor and Cycling Deals

March 28th, 2013

Outdoor Gear

Spring is here and it’s time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Here are several current outdoor deals if you’re in need of some new gear.

Updated April 6th

Backcountry.com

Backcountry.com has a huge selection of outdoor gear including bikes and gear. Now through April 7th, you can get 20% off one full price item with code SAVE20.

REI

REI Memebers save 20% on 1 Full-Price Item on REI.com plus 1 Item on REI-OUTLET with coupon code MEM2013. Not a member? It’s only $20 for lifetime membership and they target giving 10% of qualifying purchases back as a dividend each year.

Sierra Trading Post

Save an additional 15-25% during the Sierra Trading Post Spring Sale. They also have a couple coupon codes that are good through May 8th.

Tahoe Mountain Sports

Save 20% on up to 2 full priced items. Use promo code: New2 – Offer Expires 4/17, some restrictions apply.

CampSaver

CampSaver has an extra 20% off sale items in their Outlet with code OUTLET-20. In addition, Big Agnes, Granite Gear and Exped are on sale in their main store. Expires April 10th.

Fontana Sports

Take an additional 20% OFF all Snowboards, Snowboard Boots & Bindings (already reduced up to 40% off). Use Coupon Code: A20SNB

Jenson USA

Jenson USA is running their 3 Million Dollar Bike Sale. Get up to 58% off complete bikes. 74 models to chose from.

Moosejaw

Take 20% off almost everything at Moosejaw. Shop spring styles from top brands like Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Icebreaker, Lole and Prana (and tons more) all at 20% off. No code necessary. Free Shipping on All Orders $49+. Ends April 14th.

evo

Get extra 20% off all items in their outlet for their last chair outlet event. Use the code: last chair to receive the discount. Ends today, March 28th.

They are also selling all of their Ski and Snowboard goods at major discounts, up to 50% off on many 2013 items in the main store. No code necessary for the main shop.

Konasports

Get an additional 15% off already discounted items in their Outlet section with coupon code OUTLETDAYS. Ends April 1st.

TriVillage.com

TriVillage is offering 20% off over 600 items for triathlon, road cycling, and mountain biking with coupon code: DEALS20. If you want something that’s not included, you can use DEALS18 and save 18% on any other regularly priced items site wide! Also, TriVillage offers free shipping over $75 which just adds to the savings! Expires March 29th.

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Holiday Adventure Party for Indy Give

December 30th, 2012

Levitator at Holiday Adventure Party

Tomorrow, New Years Eve, is the last day to donate to Indy Give! Most of the charities get matching donations so your money will go even further. Not only that you get gifts for donations over of $50 or more. Go to the Indy Give! website for all the details. Here are direct links to the Indy Give! page for some of my favorites – Kids on Bikes, Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, Trails and Open Space Coalition and Rocky Mountain Field Institute.

On December 6th, 5 of the charities that are part of Indy Give! threw a great free party at City Rock to help raise money. The 5 charities were Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, Trails and Open Space Coalition, Millibo Art Theatre, Rocky Mountain Field Institute and Kids on Bikes. They are some of the great local organizations that help give us outdoor places to play.

There were fresh adventure films, live performances, free beverages, great food and prizes. The performances included one of my friends that I rode many miles with as a teenager doing jumps and back flips on stilts. The party was brought by City Rock, New Belgium Brewing, and the Women’s Mountain Bike Association.

Here are some of the photos I took at the party. The complate Holiday Adventure Party for Indy Give photo set is here.

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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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Manitou Incline History Exhibit

November 8th, 2012

Manitou Incline 517 Event

The Manitou Springs Heritage Center is having a “517 at 5:17″ Event tonight, November 8th at 5:17 PM, for the opening of its newest exhibit titled “The Manitou Incline – From Utility to Attraction”. Some of my Manitou Incline photos are in the exhibit. The exhibit relates the story of how the installation of a pipeline for a hydro-electric plant became a famous tourist amusement for 81 years. Now it’s the most popular hike in the Colorado Springs area even though it’s not legal to hike.

Eric Swab created the exhibit featuring photos and artifacts from 1903 to the current day from his comprehensive research of the Incline. Mr. Swab’s complete Incline history in booklet form will be available for purchase in the Museum Store. In addition, a special compilation video featuring a historic film, a video of the last ride up the Incline, and still photos has been created by Heritage Center volunteer Ashley Swendsen and is a highlight of the exhibit.

“The Manitou Springs Heritage Center is very grateful that Mr. Swab agreed to put together the exhibit,” stated boardmember Michelle Anthony. “Eric is great to work with and does a terrific job; we are fortunate to be able to present exhibits he is involved in.” Colorado Springs Utilities and the Incline Friends board helped financially with the exhibit. Admission to the Heritage Center is free but financial support is still needed to cover exhibit costs, so please consider making a contribution.

The Manitou Springs Heritage Center is located at 517 Manitou Avenue in Manitou. Hours of operation starting November 2nd will be Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12 to 5 pm. To find out more about the Manitou Springs Heritage Center visit their website at www.manitouspringsheritagecenter.org.

In addition to the Incline exhibit at the Manitou Springs Heritage Center, Eric Swab will talk about the history of the Incline at 11 AM Friday, November 9th, at the Old Colorado City History Center, 1 S. 24th St., Colorado Springs. The title of his talk is “The Manitou Incline – From Drinking Water to Tourism”.

Doors open at 10:30 AM and seating is limited. Historical Society members can attend free and entry for others is $5. Find out more on the Old Colorado City Historical Society website.

Red Rocks, Section 16 and White Acres Trails

September 11th, 2012

Red Rocks Open Space

The next Master Plan meeting for Red Rocks Open Space, Section 16 and White Acres is tonight at 6:30. It is being held at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St. The focus of tonight’s meeting is trails.

Info on trails in the areas and other information on the Master Plan process is posted on the Colorado Springs website. The schedule of future meetings for those open spaces is also posted there.

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Free National Park Entry This Weekend

January 13th, 2012

Grand Canyon

All 397 national parks across the country are offering free admission this weekend, January 14 through 16, to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

Camping probably isn’t on most people list of things to do at National Parks in snowy parts of the country for these free days but there’s still plenty to do in winter. Many National Parks such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone and Yosemite are good for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

More free National Park days in 2012

  • April 21-29 – National Park Week
  • June 9 – Get Outdoors Day
  • September 29 – National Public Lands Day
  • November 10-12 – Veterans Day weekend

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