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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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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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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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.

Manitou and Colorado Springs to Vote on Incline Today

February 28th, 2012

Manitou Incline

Update 2/28/12: Both Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs city councils unanimously approved the IGA for the Incline. That’s 2 more big steps climbed but there are many more including an act of Congress before the Incline can be legallly opened.


Today is a critical day in the legalization of the Manitou Incline for hiking or running for those that can. Both Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs will be voting on the inter-governmental agreement for managing the Incline. It is far from certain that the agreement will be approved by Manitou at this time. Keep reading to learn what you can do to help.

Manitou residents are unhappy with the traffic and parking issues. Some on the Manitou Springs City Council feel they are being forced into allowing Incline hikers because it would be difficult to stop people at this point. They also want to find a way to make Incline users to pay to use it.

The Incline Friends was created for fundraising to avoid the liability issues with charging. Not charging also removes the hassle of needing to pay when you get there and needing someone to collect fees. The plan was hammered out with input from many people and hours of people’s time. Now it’s dragged on for so long that new people think they have a better way without understanding why the plan is the way it is or they’re getting greedy.

The Manitou Springs Council special packet has the inter-governmental agreement that spells out who will be responsible for what. In general Colorado Springs is responsible for the trailhead creation and maintenance. They also are responsible for much of the maintenance of the Incline itself. They also work with the Incline Friends to raise money and apply for grants. Manitou is responsible for parking and traffic control.

There’s an interesting poll on Pikes Peak Sports about paying to park and/or hike the Incline. Out There Colorado also has a pay for the Incline poll.

From the Incline Friends

Thank you for taking an interest in the Incline. The Incline Friends now need your help!

The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is scheduled to be reviewed February 28 by both Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs City Councils. This is a very important document. Both city councils must approve the IGA before the Incline can be made legal and open to the public.

Here is what we need from you:

If you live in Manitou Springs – Please contact your local City Council member and encourage them to approve the agreement on February 28. Here is the message you can send (copy and paste into an e-mail):

“In order to make the Incline sustainable and legal and address the ongoing parking and traffic impacts to Manitou Springs , we will need all parties working together to make the Incline an asset for our community, Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region.

A key component noted in the Intergovernmental Agreement is parking regulations and a residential parking plan for Ruxton Ave. and the surrounding neighborhoods, to manage the parking and traffic.

Other components include establishing a trailhead at the base of the Incline, addressing the unsafe conditions on the Incline, fixing and maintaining the surrounding and interconnected trail system including the Barr Trail and managing the overall use of the Incline.

Please consider signing the IGA on Feb. 28. As a resident of Manitou Springs, I understand that the alternative to not moving forward with the Incline is the status quo which is not acceptable. People in large numbers (350,000 – 500,000 trips per year) will continue to use the Incline and the City of Manitou Springs can benefit from these visitors visiting our businesses and contributing to our sales and tax base.

To do nothing is not an option! Nobody likes the situation as it Is, so collaboration and cooperation with other key stakeholders is critical. If we don’t’ do anything now, it will only get worse!”

Manitou Springs City Council contacts:
Mayor Marc Snyder – msnyder@comsgov.com
Donna Ford, At large – dford@comsgov.com
Randy Hodges, At large – rhodges@comsgov.com
Gary Smith, At large – gsmith@comsgov.com
Michael Gerbig, Ward 1 – mgerbig@comsgov.com
Coreen Toll, Ward 2 – ctoll@comsgov.com
Matt Carpenter, Mayor Pro-Tem, Ward 3 – mcarpenter@comsgov.com
All members can be reached @ 719-385-5481
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________________________________________________________________________________

If you live in Colorado Springs – Please contact your local City Council member and encourage them to approve the agreement on February 28th. Here is the message you can send (copy and paste into an e-mail):

“In order to make the Incline sustainable and legal and address the ongoing parking and traffic impacts to Manitou Springs, we will need all parties working together to make the Incline an asset for Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and the Pikes Peak region.

The Intergovernmental Agreement will address Incline parking and traffic issues, establishing a trailhead at the base of the Incline, addressing the unsafe conditions on the Incline, fixing and maintaining the surrounding and interconnected trail system including the Barr Trail and managing the overall use of the Incline.

Please consider signing the IGA on Feb. 28. As a resident of Colorado Springs, I understand that the alternative to not moving forward with the Incline is the status quo which is not acceptable. People in large numbers (350,000 – 500,000 trips per year) will continue to do the incline and our entire community can benefit from having this unique treasure available to locals and visitors.

Please don’t lose this opportunity to move this process forward.”

Colorado Springs City Council contacts:
Merv Bennett, At-Large – mbennett@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5469
Lisa Czelatdko, District 3 – lczelatdko@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5470
Angela Dougan, District 2 – adougan@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5493
Scott Hente, President – shente@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5487
Bernie Herpin, District 4 – bherpin@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5492
Tim Leigh, At-Large – tleigh@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5483
Jan Martin, President Pro-Tem – jmartin@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5486
Val Snider, At-Large – vsnider@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5485
Brandy Williams, At-Large – bwilliams@springsgov.com
(719) 385-5491
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­
Thank you for helping move this process forward for the benefit of all.

Incline Friends Membership Drive

January 24th, 2012

Manitou Incline Friends Logo

Currently making the Manitou Incline legal is progressing well and the Incline could be officially open by summer. The Incline Friends is the group that is raising funds to help implement the Manitou Incline Site Development and Management Plan. They are having a membership drive 6 PM to 9 PM. Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Phantom Canyon Brewery.

Members of the Incline Friends committee will be on hand to provide updated information about the legalization process and where the project currently stands.

Community members are encouraged to join Incline Friends, the nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds, public education and volunteer coordination for the Manitou Incline. Membership cost is $35 per year. All who join will receive a new Incline Friends tech T-shirt. And Phantom Canyon has promised to buy a beer for the first 50 who join.

If you can’t make it to the membership drive at Phantom Canyon, you can join the Incline Friends online.

Western States 100 Movie Showing Benefits Manitou Incline

December 6th, 2011

Another endurance movie showing is coming to Colorado Springs and it benefits the Incline Friends. The new documentary “Unbreakable: The Western States 100,” is showing at Stargazers Theatre on December 7th at 7 PM. Doors open at 6 p.m. and top ultra runners Anton Krupicka, Geoff Roes and Anita Ortiz will be there.

The film by Journeyfilm’s JB Benna follows the footsteps of four extraordinary athletes, including Krupicka and Roes of Boulder, as they prepare for the 2010 race and the daunting challenge of running 100 miles across the Sierra Nevada, some of the most rugged country in the western United States. On race day you’ll join the runners shoulder-to-shoulder as they push their limits above timberline, and then risk life and limb on hell-bent descents.

This is a must see for anyone who dreams of striding across the sky to greet the sunrise.

The evening will be topped with a question and answer discussion with Krupicka, Roes and Ortiz, some of the top ultra runners in the world. Roes won the Western States 100 in 2010, while Ortiz claimed the women’s title in 2009. Krupicka, who attended Colorado College, is a two-time winner of the Leadville 100.

Tickets cost $10 and will be available at Mountain Chalet, 226 N. Tejon St.; Colorado Running Company, 833 N. Tejon St., and 9275 N. Union Blvd, Ste. 120; and Carmichael Training Systems, 600 S. 21st St., No. 100. Tickets will also be available for $10 the day of the show, but it’s wise to purchase them early. Tickets are also available online for $11 at imATHLETE.com.

The event is a fundraiser for Incline Friends, the organization created to help implement the Manitou Incline Site Development and Management Plan and open the Incline to the public. Although it still isn’t legal to hike the Manitou Incline, the Incline Friends are working to educate users, build relationships with other groups and residents who use and live near the Incline, and organize volunteer work days.

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