NewsCovering Colorado


Grant funds trail reroute on Pikes Peak

Posted at 7:14 AM, Mar 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-20 09:14:10-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Work to restore the Devil’s Playground Trail on Pikes Peak just got a boost thanks to a $250,000 trails grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The multi-year project had slowed because of a shrinking budget.

The new funding makes way for more expedited work over the next three years.

“We have a very unique skill set,“said Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI), Executive Director, Jolie Nesmith.

Crews with the non-profit Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) who have specialized education and experience with designing and building sustainable trail systems are doing the work.

The nearly ten-year task is to reroute a trail that had little to no planning when it was created

Nesmith said, “It was originally a rogue trail as everybody likes to call them these days. And it became a trail because people kept using it.”

Now, it is not holding up to harsh weather and increasing use by hikers.

The condition is so bad a trail advocacy group gave it a failing grade

"They go around and rank the trails and rate them,” said Nesmith, “It actually got an F a few years ago. So it's it is 100% unsustainable, it's not safe.”

"It's critical that they get up and improve the trail, make it safer for users and better for the environment," said Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), Executive Director, Susan Davies.

The trails on Pikes Peak are among the most heavily used in the region.

Davies points out that funding trail restoration for any project is typically a challenge.

“It takes years it takes, you know, cobbling budgets together, using this pot of money to bring in more money to attract money from the state trails fund or get money from Great Outdoors Colorado,

It is why the $250,000 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife is significant.

It funds the next three seasons of work on the remote trail.

Through a lot of the trail methods that we're using, it should really be a self-sustainable trail and not require as much maintenance going forward,” said Nesmith

It gets the project much closer to completion although more funding will be needed to finish the restoration.

It is a long process because of the rural location that requires mostly man powered work by hand.

The work also protects the full time residents of pikes peak.

“With the reroute, it will help protect some of the wildlife habitat that's up there. And there are also several, you know, pretty rare species of flora and fauna that it will also help protect,” said Nesmith.

Once snow clears, crews will set up camp on Pikes Peak and resume work.


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