WALDO CANYON – There is widespread community interest in creating access routes and getting trails back in Waldo Canyon. It burned and was destroyed during a massive wildfire six year ago. A standing-room-only crowd showed up for the first of three public input meetings this year.
Bob Falcone or HikingBob as he is known on his blog about local trails, is not surprised. Waldo Canyon was the most popular hiking spot in all of the Pike National Forest. Close to the city, yet hiking over a ridge took you to mountain seclusion. “Down into this big bowl,” said Falcone, ”You could camp there and you could really be away from anything related to the city. You couldn’t hear the traffic on highway 24, you couldn’t see the lights from Colorado Springs.”
It burned and it has been missed. “I’m asked weekly and that’s not an exaggeration, from people, when is Waldo re-opening, “said Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Executive Director, Jennifer Peterson, “What can I do to help; bring it back; let us back in, please, please, please.”
Now the people asking questions are being asked for input. A recently completed on-line survey garnered over a thousand responses. The first public input meeting packed the room with close to a hundred people. “Having that kind of a turn out just makes everything go so much better,” said Trails and Open Space Coalition, Executive Director, Susan Davies.
Organizers say there are a lot of opinions. They differ, which is fine at this point. “We hear keep the very primitive and remote feel that Waldo Canyon was, to we want multi-use, multiple access points, a trail for everyone,” said Peterson.
Information from the first meeting will be a foundation that evolves into a framework for the Waldo Canyon plan during the second meeting in April. The third public meeting in October will focus on finalizing a plan for starting work in 2020.