As we roll back into fall, and near the conclusion of the 2019 field season, we have a lot of project updates to report.
We are excited about the progress we've made constructing trails at Pineries Open Space. This County property is soon to be open to the public, who will have miles of new trail to experience thanks to the hard work of community volunteers, Mile High Youth Corps, and RMFI field crews. Lindsay has done a great job overseeing the project this fall - so far, we have built over 2-miles of new trail through old-growth ponderosa pine groves and rolling terrain. Stay tuned for an announcement on the expected opening of the Open Space.
The RMFI Stewardship Crew has been hard at work on Barr Trail. Barr is one of the most heavily used trails in the Pikes Peak Region, if not the entire state. Close to 400,000 users travel the lower 3-miles of Barr Trail. About 350,000 users are using Barr as a route back down after going up the Manitou Incline. With so many users, the trail corridor is pounded every year by runners, bikers, hikers, and dogs who dodge each other while on their Incline routines. Like most trails that receive this level of use, the Barr Trail requires annual maintenance to make it passable and to limit erosion. A proposed Northern Trail off the Incline may alleviate some of the use on Barr, but the need for routine maintenance will remain. That's just the nature of a high-use trail that climbs 8,000 feet through steep, loose slopes of Pikes Peak granite. RMFI is proud to do the work, which is being overseen by Josh.
We are so happy to be back at our old stomping grounds of Shelf Road. After a couple years hiatus, we are back to working with the BLM to improve the recreation access infrastructure for this beloved climbing area. We held two stewardship events at Shelf this fall - National Public Lands Day in September and at the Craggin Classic in October. RMFI is employing its deep-rooted knowledge of climbing area stewardship at Shelf Road. We are looking for areas where new route development is occurring, and we are improving access to those areas ahead of the anticipated increase in use. Alex, Porter, and Hunter have overseen great improvements to the Gym and New Gym walls. Over the course of the two events, they worked with volunteers to build a series of steps, retaining walls, and belay platforms that will improve the ease of access and protect the landscape as more use occurs.
Have you noticed the new trail network at Stratton Open Space and North Cheyenne Canon? Jarrod and the TOPS Stewardship Crew have built a couple of bomber staircases on the newly-rerouted Gold Camp Path, a hiking-only trail alternative to the biking-only Chutes. These aren't your average staircases - bedrock and steep, loose soils made for highly-technical timber work. The trail provides access to Gold Camp Road.
More cowbell next month!