UPDATE March 11, 2014: The US Forest Service has released their FAQ document to answer some of the most common questions, such as – “Why were trails closed in Sept?.” (Answer: For safety reasons. Proposed permanent closures are because of the trout.) and “How will people access historic areas and structures in Jones Park?” (Answer: They won’t). To read the FAQs, click here.
See maps and more information at the Forest Service website here.
Public comments on the plan will be accepted until March 27th, 2014 at firstname.lastname@example.org .
200-plus interested citizens queried US Forest Service, CS Parks and Colorado Springs Utilities staff about “proposed actions in the Bear Creek Watershed” at the Open House Tuesday, February 25. As trail users may know, the watershed is currently closed for the protection of a unique population of greenback cutthroat trout and as a result of flood damage to some Forest Service trails. TOSC staff and Board members attended the public meeting with the following concerns:
The trails in this watershed are historic and extremely popular. Users need assurances that alternate routes wil be constructed with all due speed. We believe there will be plenty of community support for new trail construction. And as alternatives become available there is likely to be more public support for honoring “closed” trails.
We are concerned there are no plans to provide trail access through any CSU managed property under the proposal. That means no access to Jones Park, Mount Arthur, Mt. Garfield or Tenney Crags. We would like them to reconsider their position.
Without public support for the plan, we fear some users will ignore closures and create new social trails which could lead to more degradation. It is key that user groups feel they’ve been heard and that the resulting plan is a compromise balancing the fragility of the watershed with recreation uses.