Volunteers build first part of S-16 trail option

       Volunteers created part of a new alternative for Palmer-Red Rock Loop Trail users at a June 1 project.

Volunteers shape part of the new trail section during the June 1 workday in Section 16/Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Timed for National Trails Day, the work was organized by Colorado Springs Parks, in conjunction with several local volunteer groups.
       A total of 768 feet of trail was cut into the hillside by 85 volunteers, according to project coordinator Scott Abbott of City Parks.
       Located near the top of the first ridge above the Section 16 Trailhead, the new segment provides a “nice little loop,” off the existing Palmer Trail, Abbott said.
       Future plans call for a connection between the loop and the trailhead itself. Designed by the city with input from cyclists and horseback riders, it will provide a less steep alternative to the first quarter mile or so of the Palmer Trail, which also includes numerous steps.
       Instead of setting more volunteer workdays to build that additional distance, the city will hire a contractor, using funding from a state grant, Abbott said.
       “It's difficult terrain, with challenging pieces that we feel would be addressed more easily with a contractor,” he said. The alternative route, the exact layout of which is not yet finalized, “will allow everyone a better opportunity to connect to the open space,” he added.
       The Section 16 Trailhead is off Gold Camp Road, about a quarter of a mile uphill from the intersection with 26th Street and Lower Gold Camp Road.
       The project is the first to implement part of the trail-layout element of the master plan for the city's recently expanded Red Rock Canyon Open Space. The master plan incorporates the neighboring, recently purchased Section 16 and White Acres into the original Red Rock property.
       Groups supporting the city in the project included the Trails and Open Space Coalition, Friends of Red Rock Canyon, Medicine Wheel, Friends of the Peak and Rocky Mountain Field Institute. The REI outdoor store handled signups and other support activities.

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