NewsCovering Colorado


20,000 planted so far: Status of PikeView Quarry revegetation

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 19, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS — On these hot summer days, those who work outside have it hard, especially those working along the slope of a former quarry. But no matter the temperature, crews are planting trees and shrubs at elevation, seven days a week.

If you squint, you can see them going in from a distance; brushes of green on the sand-colored matting covering what was PikeView Quarry are slowly growing in number.

"We are around 20,000, something like that [so far], trees and shrubs," said Edgar Perez.

Perez oversees the 10 to 20 Hydro Turf workers responsible for planting a total of 31,000 seedlings of pinon and Ponderosa pine, wax and golden currant, Rocky Mountain juniper and choke cherries.

News 5 was there when they began this massive operation in April.

Final phase of reclamation begins at the PikeView Quarry

Director of the reclamation site, Jerry Schnabel, calls this step critical in returning this land to its natural state with a plan to offer it to the city.

"It will determine whether this blends in with surrounding areas and goes back to a more natural look or whether it fails and we have a bare mountain. If we do have a bare mountain, we’ll have to come back in and do it again. So it’s essential that we get this mountain planted, irrigated, and get it to take this year," Schnabel told News 5.

As they work up the slope, crews use long metal rods to puncture the Excelsior Blanket that helps protect the saplings beneath in high winds.

"The hardest part is where the blanket goes. Everything tries to cave in so you have to make the hole a little bit bigger so we have to go back in and fill it with external dirt,” said Perez of the challenges of planting on the slope.

Depending on the species, they group them together so the trees and shrubs grow in a natural pattern. It will likely take years to fill in the space and look different from a distance.

This is the final step in a years-long reclamation project.

News5 Investigates: The PikeView Quarry

Now they’ll monitor that water run-off is managed properly and the plants grow in what quarry owners hope will be an extension of the Blodgett Open Space.