The Waldo Canyon Fire recovery is finally reaching a point where work can start on plans for trails and recreation. A $45 thousand grant awarded through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife State Trails program, and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) will fund the process.
There are typically more applications for these grants than available money. Waldo canyon stood out as a key project, not just locally, but for the region. “That beloved area that’s commonly referred to as the most populated trail in Colorado Springs prior to the burn, this will give the opportunity to bring that back to the public," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Trails Coordinator, Robert Seel.
This coming summer marks six years since the fire. "Things have recovered to a point where now is the time we can begin to look at the future," said Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Executive Director, Jennifer Peterson The planning will include looking at a new location for parking and the trail head, ideas for the trail system and possible limited camping. "Look at it in a way that we can build it in a way that’s appropriate, that’s sustainable, that makes sense for the community and the landscape as a whole," said Oscar Martinez with Pike National Forest.
Collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service, The Trails and Open Space Coalition, and The Rocky Mountain Field Institute will direct the 18 month process. "Now we’re at a point where we can finally get back in there, have a public process and dream big," said Trails and Open Space Executive Director, Susan Davies. A series of roundtables are planned, where the public will be encouraged to offer ideas. They will begin in the fall.