FISHERS PEAK STATE PARK — Hikers and mountain bikers now have a wider selection of trails taking them deeper into the new Fishers Peak State Park in Southern Colorado.
It is part of an expedited plan for allowing public access a piece at at time to what will be Colorado’s second largest state park. There is more than 19,000 acres in the park boundaries.
The acquisition of the land for the park was announced in October of 2020. At the time the public was given access to a couple hundred acres via an existing road and one trail.
Now there are 13 trails and added acres of open space for the public to enjoy.
It is beautiful, but also rugged terrain that required a lot of work to put in sustainable trails.
“In some places these areas were so dense that you would just have to lean-in and fall through the brush in order to break through,” said Fishers Peak State Park, Park Manager, Crystal Dreiling.
Fishers Peak has long been a landmark background to the town of Trinidad in southern Colorado.
The expanse of land also holds evidence of the areas history.
Native American tribes once inhabited the area; there are remnants from the early days of mining on the land; and the most recent activity was ranching. The property is also home to threatened species and rare plant life.
“There’s just so much history and so much depth both in the natural sense and in the cultural sense of this property,” said Dreiling.
Fishers peak is Colorado’s 42nd state park. It is the first state park designated by Governor Jared Polis.
As the state grows he sees a need to set aside more public land.
“Some of our amazing outdoor areas are too heavily trafficked and it’s bad from a wildlife perspective. It’s also bad just from an experience perspective. You go there and there’s too many people,” said Polis.
The park represents a new way of opening a state park in Colorado
Rather than making the public wait through the planning and building process, portions open a piece at time,
“A new state park open to the public while we’re still learning and doing our master planning and our inventories,” said Breiling, “We thought it might be exciting for the public to have boots on the ground while we’re getting to know the park ourselves.”
The most recent addition to the park adds more hiking options and now allows mountain bikes.
The center piece of the park is Fishers Peak. The trail to top of it is one of the next priorities. The hope is to open it by the end of summer 2023.
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