More detail on summer plans for Red Rock
31st St. trailhead first; volunteer workdays set

       Development of the 31st Street trailhead and a roughly half-mile linking trail to the central part of Red Rock Canyon Open Space is tentatively planned in May, so there will be an alternative access point when the city starts work around mid-summer on a permanent parking lot at the main Red Rock entrance off Highway 24 and High Street/Ridge Road.
       The Highway 24/31st Street work plans were part of a presentation by Chris Lieber, manager of design and development for Colorado Springs Parks and the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program, to the annual meeting of the Friends of Red Rock Canyon Open Space March 3 at the Village at Skyline.
       The Highway 24 lot will have 100 parking spaces and a permanent restroom facility, he said. The lot will replace a temporary, gravel space that was graded last fall to allow about 30 cars. The property has been so popular that on one weekend 104 parked cars were counted, he said.
       The 31st Street trailhead will be about 200 yards south of Highway 24, in the area where horse stables had operated for many years. Although 31st Street will be a smaller lot than Highway 24's, it will be the principal parking lot for horse trailers, Lieber noted.
       A former gravel pit road will be used for a large portion of the trail connection from 31st to the central Red Rock area. A contractor will likely be hired to create a short link from the lot to the old road, and a volunteer workday will be necessary to finalize the trail to the main canyon area, he said.
       Both trailheads and the trail from 31st are part of the park's master plan.
       In answer to a question during the meeting, Lieber estimated that it would be 7 to 10 years before all of the property upgrades and trail loops in the master plan can be completed. “It's an aggressive plan,” he said. “It will take some time to implement it.”
       He also released the city's 2005 schedule of volunteer Red Rock workdays, which he hopes will result in aesthetic upgrades and seven more miles of trail.
       Such projects will begin May 1, with workdays planned one to three times a month through October.
       Among the scheduled trail projects, two workdays are slated to build a 1/2-mile link from the Intemann Trail in Section 16 and four workdays to improve/complete the roughly 1 ½-mile Contemplative Trail in the park's Sand Canyon.
       The main trail emphasis this year will be on the western half of the 788.1-acre property, Lieber said. Before the park's public opening last October, two volunteer workdays built or improved about three miles of trail in the northern/central area between the Highway 24 entrance and the old sandstone quarry.
       “It will be a busy summer,” said Lieber, who as city trails coordinator (before recently being appointed development manager) designed all the new trails. “You can just about pick a weekend to volunteer.”
       Other enhancements expected this year are the opening of the free-ride bicycling area and the dog off-leash area - both master- planned on a once-graded hilltop in the northern/central area off what the city has named the Mesa Trail.
       Josh Osterhoudt, leader of the Medicine Wheel bicycling group, said at the meeting that a plan for the free ride area - where bicyclists will be able to practice tricks of various degrees of difficulty - is nearly done. “A professional engineer is putting his stamp on it,” after which the plan will be brought to the city, he said. “We want something this spring that kids and families can ride on.”
       At the Friends meeting, Lieber also provided an update on the former Bock family house. (See article on Page 8.)
       Here is the current list of the city's volunteer workdays at Red Rock Canyon this year:
       April 30 - trail work with honor students from Rampart High School. Not open to outside participants.
       May 1 - Contemplative Trail work, led by the Garden of the Goddesses Club.
       May 7 - Revegetation work, as part of Arbor Day.
       May 22 - Contemplative Trail work.
       June 4 - Trail work in unspecified areas, for Trail Day, led by REI.
       June 11 - Free ride construction, led by Medicine Wheel.
       June 17-18 - Trail work in unspecified areas with Focus on the Family employees and family members. Not open to outside participants.
       July 10 - Contemplative Trail work, led by the Garden of the Goddesses Club.
       July 30 - Contemplative Trail work, led by the Garden of the Goddesses Club.
       Aug. 14 - Intemann Trail-Red Rock link project, led by the Intemann Trail Committee.
       Sept. 24 - Trail work in unspecified areas (Intemann-Red Rock link, if needed).
       Oct. 21 - Trail work in unspecified areas, led by Pikes Peak United Way.
       For information about volunteering, call Kim King at City Parks at 385-6509.

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