Restoration on Palmer Trail
Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates (MWTA) did a trail project over the weekend that your readers may want to know about.
The project was a restoration of the lower section of the Palmer Trail (in Bear Creek Canyon Park) to its alignment as it was originally built. The newer, commonly used lower section had become badly eroded over the years, because it was never designed correctly but was, we surmise, a temporary road built into the area some time after the original Palmer Trail, probably to serve the old Boy Scout camp located farther up the valley.
The original bench cut was still in place, just grown over with decades of vegetation. In discussions between MWTA and City Parks, it was determined that it wouldn't take much work to reconnect the trail in its original alignment. The major piece was adding a new entrance and about 200 feet of brand new trail down to High Drive.
For the project, MWTA partnered with Tony Boone Trails, a trail building contractor from Salida. Using 20 Medicine Wheel volunteers and Tony's new, 30” wide bulldozer, 1,000-plus feet of new trail was built and finished in one day (Friday), while another 1,000 feet of old trail were restored the following morning. The full cost of the project (about $2,000) was paid by MWTA.
The new trail adheres to design principles known for centuries, namely running across the prevailing slope, with frequent areas for water to drain off the trail and down the hillside. The main goal is to prevent water runoff from running down the trail. We also wanted to make the trail fun for hikers, runners, and cyclists. Like the original Palmer Trail farther up the hillside (designed by engineers), we expect the newly restored trail to last for decades with minimal maintenance.
MWTA is an all-volunteer trails and open space advocacy group, dedicated to maintaining and expanding trails access for mountain bikers and all trail users in the Pikes Peak region.