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Letter: Trails Coalition seeks Bear Creek watershed solution that would save Jones Park access

       I read with chagrin a guest column in your paper which suggested that the Trails and Open Space Coalition had endorsed the closure of significant portions of the Bear Creek watershed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
       In fact, the Trails and Open Space Coalition has NOT yet taken an official position on the Bear Creek watershed trail closure proposals. Our staff and Advocacy Committee have been hard at work finding out the facts of the proposals, talking to the community about what they would like to see happen in the watershed, publicizing the comment process and formalizing our response. Our draft letter came before our Advocacy Committee today, and, once approved by our Board of Directors, that letter will appear on the front page of our website, trailsandopenspaces.org. That same page has for weeks contained information on the issue, links to maps and information, and a list of our concerns with the proposals. If the writer of your article had cared to check, he could have seen those concerns align with his in many respects.
       Today I spoke before the Colorado Springs Utilities Board of Directors with a strong request that they direct their staff to find a trail alignment that would balance the needs of the trout while providing access to Jones Park. All trails currently on Colorado Springs Utilities- managed watershed property would be closed under Alternatives B and C. We don't think that is an acceptable solution.
       We exist for the preservation of open spaces and parks and the creation of a network of trails, bikeways and greenways for the Pikes Peak region. We take our mission seriously. We wish to engage and in so doing, effect positive change. We will continue to update the public on our progress, and the negotiations among the players in this plan, as we move forward in the process.

       Susan Davies
       Executive Director, Trails and Open Space Coalition

       Editor's note: This letter references a guest column in the Westside Pioneer that was initially posted the night of March 18. The column included the erroneous statement that the Coalition supports the U.S. Forest Service's proposed Alternative B (which includes the closure of access into Jones Park). The Pioneer removed the statement -- also at the request of the author -- the afternoon of March 19.

(Posted 3/19/14; Opinion: Letters)

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