New trails, bigger lot, 2nd trailhead seen for Red Rock Canyon in ‘05

       Colorado Springs Parks Development Manager Terry Putman explained general development plans for the coming year at Red Rock Canyon Open Space at a joint meeting of the city and county parks boards Tuesday, January 25 at Rock Ledge Ranch.
       According to Putman, current work involves the piece-by-piece dismantling of the “house on the hill” - one of three on-site houses from the 80-year period when the Bock family owned Red Rock before the city bought the 788.1-acre property in 2003. Another of the dwellings, the one known as the “house in the hole,” has already been demolished.
       Putman added that no final decision has yet been made on the third Bock house - the now-boarded-up main residence near the lake (the one that people walk by as they enter the park).
       Other anticipated work during the coming year includes a permanent, paved parking lot at the main entrance off High Street/Ridge Road; a second, smaller trailhead at 31st Street just south of Highway 24; about 10 more miles of trail; relocation of the last mobile home tenant; and removal of the property's billboards, Putman told the board members.
       Both the parking lot and the second trailhead are being designed, with cost estimates possibly known by the end of this month. Work on these projects could get started by March or April, he said. Funding would come from a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant.
       The new High Street lot will hold 90 cars, he said. The current, temporary, gravel lot has a capacity for only about 30 cars and is often filled to capacity on weekends.
       The 31st Street trailhead would handle a minimum of 20 cars and 10 horse trailers, Putman told the Westside Pioneer in a separate interview. It would have a smaller lot because it's on the outer part of the park. To get to the inner area of the park, where the quarry and climbing areas are, “you've got to climb over two hogbacks,” Putman pointed out.
       The house on the hill was where Richard Bock lived before moving to Arizona in the 1970s after failing to get support for a major residential/commercial project on the property that he had planned with his brother, John. A building permit, found inside the remains of the property, shows a date of July 26, 1956.
       A visit to the site revealed a fairly ordinary, smallish house, with no unusual craftsmanship. A company that recycles building materials is tearing down the house. A company spokesman said the best finds have been the original 2-by-4s, because they date back to the days when old-growth lumber was still allowed for construction use.
       According to Don Ellis, editor of the Red Rock Rag - a quarterly publication about the property - the house had been rented until last fall. Although the dirt road to the house has been closed to the public, the city made a decision a couple of months ago to tear it down because of increasing vandalism, he said.
       All of the planned work for Red Rock Canyon stems from the park's master plan that was approved by the city after public meetings last year. The property opened to the public in October.
       The El Paso County and Colorado Springs parks boards meet together annually. This year's meeting, held over lunch, was in the Carriage House at Rock Ledge Ranch, a city-owned working ranch/tourist attraction in the Garden of the Gods.

Westside Pioneer article