COLORADO SPRINGS — The reservation system on The Incline will not be going away. It started as a temporary measure to thin crowds during the pandemic, when city leaders in Manitou Springs said it was not safe. "Underlying concern of there's was the amount of people that were using the incline," said Kurt Schroeder with Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. The pandemic is easing, but new negotiations make reservations permanent
Traffic and parking congestion are on-going issues in Manitou. Locals complain, The Incline pushes it into the neighborhoods. "We have this really cool amenity in somebody's backyard," said Schroeder. Keeping locals happy is "absolutely" part of making the reservation requirement permanent.
Analysis of the impact from reservation show other positive effects. "We've got a really good handle on our numbers now, the numbers of people going up there and more specifically where they're coming from," said Schroeder. An unforeseen improvement appears a connection to all the safety warnings pushed during the reservation process. "We hammer home a message about this is not your typical walk in the park. You need to be prepared." There is a marked drop in calls for emergency help. Not all are onboard with this decision. The active coalition of regular user, Incline Friends, remains opposed to the reservation system. The non-profit Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) is also against it. Executive Director, Susan Davies said the nearly $140-thousand budget to operate reservations could be “better spent on other park projects.” Park leaders say, in relation to the number of users it is money well spent. There are just over 11-hundred reservation slots each day. They are divided up by half hours, with popular times like morning hours getting a higher number. Reservations are on-line and free.