COLORADO SPRINGS — Some major upgrade work is nearing completion at Red Rocks Open Space in Colorado Springs. It is necessary to ensure the future of the increasingly popular spot for outdoor activities.
"It's just going to continue to grow,” said Colorado Springs Parks, Senior Landscape Architect, David Deitemeyer. Once known as a hidden gem among locals, it is now one of the most visited parks in Colorado Springs.
Parking lots have been added at multiple entrances around the nearly 1,500 acre property. "Sometimes they [drivers] would make their own, they'd illegally park, hop the curb and damage some of the vegetation in there,” said Deitemeyer. The additional parking is about more than spaces for more people and their vehicles. "If we have 1,000 guests, visitors that park for the day and they're all coming through one entrance, it's something that's going to show itself." Dispersing parking gets visitors entering at various trailheads. It is more land management friendly.
Work also includes redesign and construction of better trails. One near the main park entrance went from a steep uphill grade, to a path that gradually traverses the hillside. “Every time it rained it would wash down into the parking lot,” said Deitemeyer. Parts of the hillside were also stabilized with rock walls for support.
The changes address the consistently increasing number of visitors to open space parks in Colorado Springs. "Actually create something that's a better use and experience for those visitors," said Deitermeyer. It is a strategy for sustaining parks like this far into the future.