Master plan this year for new open spaces (Section 16 and White Acres)

       Colorado Springs Parks envisions a master plan process similar to that of Red Rock Canyon for the recently purchased Section 16 and White Acres open-space properties.

The Palmer Land Trust, a nonprofit that assisted in the city's recent purchase of Section 16 as open space, had a strong turnout for a "celebratory hike" through the property Jan. 8. Photo was taken at the trailhead off Gold Camp Road (sign at right). A major Section 16 trail workday is tentatively planned June 4.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Preliminary work will take place this year, according to Sarah Bryarly, City Parks' interim manager of the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS), although part of it (such as wildlife studies) will have to wait until summer months.
       She said the master plan will look at the newer properties (about 700 acres total) in conjunction with the Red Rock Canyon Open Space (about 800), which neighbors them in the foothills south of Highway 24 and west of 31st Street/26th Street/Gold Camp Road.
       Prepared in 2004, the Red Rock plan followed several public meetings and included trail layouts, signage, designated areas and policies for public use. Details are still being worked out, but Bryarly said she expects less development to occur in the more remote Section 16 and White Acres properties (citing Red Rock's Free Ride park as an example of what won't be there).
       Until the master plan takes shape, City Parks is coordinating with groups that built/ maintained Section 16's trails during past years when the city or county was leasing it from the state - the Colorado Mountain Club and Intemann Trail Committee. Also involved is the Friends of the Peak, a trail-building group that recently offered to lend a hand there.
       Tentative city plans call for a major workday in Section 16 this year, timed for the 2011 National Trails Day (Saturday, June 4).
       Using funds from the city's tenth-of-a-percent TOPS sales tax, the city bought White Acres in 2009 and Section 16 last year.

Westside Pioneer article