In my household, this is a cause for celebration: Rampart Range Road
, closed since the Waldo Canyon Fire
, has reopened.
The dirt road stretches from Garden of Gods Park to Rampart Reservoir and is a very pretty drive, and an even prettier bike ride. Just make sure that you don't go off the road — the burned forest is still off-limits.
U.S. FOREST SERVICE TEMPORARILY OPENS A PORTION OF WALDO CANYON BURN AREA
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., October 10, 2014…The Pike National Forest - Pikes Peak Ranger District is temporarily opening Forest Service Road (FSR) 300, also known as Rampart Range Road. This popular tourist road is now open between Garden of the Gods and Rampart Reservoir within the Waldo Canyon Burn Area.
Forest Order 2014-16 opens the area to day use only. The public may not camp, have campfires or park outside of designated areas. Forest visitors should refer to maps posted at entry points and within the Waldo Burn Area.
The restricted area includes the National Forest boundary above Garden of the Gods to Sand Gulch (about 2 miles south of Rampart Reservoir). All of the National Forest System lands between the Highway 24 corridor and Rampart Range Road will remain closed to entry. This closure includes Williams and Waldo Canyons and Wellington and Sand Gulches. Also closed to entry is an area around Nichols Reservoir in the upper West Monument Creek drainage (below the Rampart Reservoir dam).
Most of the area east of Rampart Range Road will be open to public use, but camping and campfires will be prohibited. In that same area, parking will be restricted to designated areas. The U.S. Forest Service has installed signs that identify the designated parking locations and these are generally in locations where use of the adjacent National Forest will not result in resource concerns. There are no designated parking locations between the Garden of the Gods park and the National Forest boundary, and then not until above the closed shooting range.
The South Rampart Shooting Range remains closed.
Visitors should use extreme caution and expect to encounter falling dead trees and limbs, steep slopes, stump holes and the potential for flooding in this Burned Area. According to Pikes Peak District Ranger Oscar Martinez, “If you choose to go into the Waldo Canyon area, expect a changed condition. It is not the same forest that many remember prior to the 2012 wildfire. There are many dangers so be very cautious with a plan of escape when the winds increase or it starts to rain. Your safety is our priority.”
The Waldo Canyon Trail along Highway 24 will remain closed. The U.S. Forest Service, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation all agree that significant public safety concerns exist at this time.
The Waldo Canyon Burn Area Closure Special Order and map are located on the web under “Alerts and Notices”. For additional questions, please call the Pikes Peak District Office at 719-636-1602.