COLORADO SPRINGS – A new wildlife fence under construction surrounding a portion of the Flying W Ranch is drawing concern and criticism from residents in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, where 346 homes and the Flying W Ranch itself burned in 2012’s Waldo Canyon Fire.
The fence is being constructed adjacent to homes along Brogans Bluff Drive and Rossmere Street along the boundary with the ranch property. Residents are concerned primarily because of the size of the fence and its proximity to homes. The fence will be a woven-wire fence at least 8 feet tall, with six-inch diameter posts, according to Flying W Ranch Executive Director Aaron Winter. “We want to do a nice woven-wire fence that is less obtrusive and people will barely even notice that it’s there,” Winter said.
Residents whose scenic views face the ranch say the new fence will detrimentally alter their views and lead to a reduction in their property values. Many of the homes in the area were rebuilt following the fire. Other residents are upset about the fence’s proximity to their own property, in some cases within just a few inches. Winter explains that some properties actually encroach onto Flying W Ranch property.
The fence will replace a chain-link fence that existed for decades, Winter said, however its perimeter is being expanded to protect roads on the ranch property and to try to prevent wildlife from accessing the property, where revegetation has been thwarted by foraging deer and other animals. “The purpose of the fence is, yes, we do want to try to keep out deer so we can get our vegetation growing,” Winter told an audience at a meeting Wednesday night of the Mountain Shadows Community Association.
Mountain Shadows resident Bill Clark, who says the Flying W Ranch’s late owner, Russ Wolfe, was a friend, is opposed to the fence. “(Wolfe) has run cattle on this ranch forever, and he didn’t need no 10-foot fence to do it,” Clark said. “There’s no reason to put a fence out there that looks like it’s a place to keep convicts or prisoners.”
Others worry fencing wildlife outside of the ranch will result in an increase in the numbers of deer, bears, bobcats, and other wildlife in residential neighborhoods. “Migratory patterns will change, foraging patterns will change,” said resident JD Berdon.
The El Paso County Regional Building department says it has not issued a permit for the fence, which is required since the fence would exceed seen feet in height, however a permit is not required for surveying and digging holes. The permit requirement applies only once posts are erected. Winter says hole-drilling for the fence is ongoing and posts will begin to be placed in a few weeks.