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Red Rock Canyon reopens, but volunteer workdays scheduled to finish flood repairs

In a photo shot between rainstorms in late May, a creek and waterfall cut through a normally dry part of Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Closed since May 19 because of damaging spring rain and floods, Red Rock Canyon Open Space got rid of its “closed” signs July 3.
       “Things are not totally back together but all of the life/safety issues have been addressed,” said City Parks Maintenance Director Kurt Schroeder.
       To finish the job, local trail-building groups are stepping up. The Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) has scheduled workdays on the following dates:
       Thursday, July 16; Friday, July 17; Saturday, July 18; Sunday, July 19; Saturday, July 25; Sunday, July 26; Wednesday, August 26; Thursday, August 27; Friday, August 28; Sunday, August 30.
       Volunteers are welcome. All times are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The minimum age is 16. Pre-registration is required. For more information, e-mail molly@rmfi.org, go to rmfi.org or call 471-7736.
       “Park and trail users are advised to use caution and to continue to comply with posted closures and stay clear of crews and equipment,” a city press release states.
       Participating in the continuing repairs are two other local groups: Manitou Springs Trail Cats and Friends of Red Rock Canyon.
       “The City is working hard to clear debris and remediate dangerous situations,” reads a recent posting on the Cats website. “We volunteers can help… by fixing the smaller trails,
City-placed cones mark flooding along the Sand Canyon Trail from a dam breach in Red Rock Canyon Open Space in a photo shot in late May.
Westside Pioneer photo
which can not be easily reached by machines and city staff. Join us and give back to this open space treasure we all have.”
       A related Cats/Friends workday will be Sunday, July 12, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., building a new trail extension and repairing damage. To preregister, go to manitoucats.com.
       The city also announced the reopening July 3 of the Midland Trail between 25th and 28th Streets. Heavy rains and water overflowing the banks of Fountain Creek had caused issues in places where the trail is in close proximity to the creek.
       Still unopened is a segment of the Foothills Trail in the Garden of the Gods, paralleling 30th Street between Gateway Road and the Navigators property. It too suffered from flooding, but with a higher degree of damage, including washed-out pavers. Schroeder said he has “no timeline” for its reopening.
       The initial May 19 Red Rock closure had also included the 640-acre Section 16 - which was added to the original 790 acres about three years ago - but the city reopened it based on Friends group recommendations May 29 that the trails were passable.
       The original Red Rock is accessible on the Westside from South 31st Street and from Highway 24 and Ridge Road. The park's main damage was caused by a pond that breached in the lower part of Sand Canyon, near the Contemplative Trail. “This and several others like it that still remain in the park are normally dry and were installed without proper engineering by a previous owner of the open space,” reported Anthony Maltese, the Friends president, in a late-May e-mail. “FoRRC [Friends of Red Rock Canyon] will be working closely with the city in the coming weeks to evaluate these other ponds to ensure another catastrophic event like this does not happen again."
       The Westside park/trail closures were among several city-wide that resulted from the rains.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 7/2/15; Outdoors: Red Rock Canyon)

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