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IQ: Call of the wild 

Since its founding as a would-be resort in the 1870s, Colorado Springs has tended to provoke two vastly different viewpoints. Some see the natural beauty of the area as a commodity to be cashed in on, and our flowery meadows and pebbly brooks as a clarion call for scenically-situated, upscale housing developments. Others see that natural beauty in its own right as the highest and best possible use of the land, and our evergreened hillsides and panoramic views as something to be preserved from "improvement."

click to enlarge Patrick Bennett
  • Patrick Bennett

Patrick Bennett
Manitou Springs
Carpenter

What's your favorite local open-space area? Pike National Forest. I love the diverse topography, wildlife and absence of houses.

How often do you visit open-space sites? Every other day, if not more.

What's your favorite open-space activity? Hiking. Especially Barr Trail because of all the opportunities for side treks off the main drag.

Name an area that fell prey to development that should have been preserved as open space. Crystal Park. Also, Higginbothom Flats. A whole herd of deer used to live there year-round.

What would Colorado Springs be like without preserved open space? More ordinary, less spiritual. A lot more like Tulsa, Oklahoma.

click to enlarge Ron Leasure
  • Ron Leasure

Ron Leasure
Cheyenne Caon
Park Ranger

What's your favorite open-space spot? The Myron Stratton area up behind Cheyenne Mountain High School. I love the vegetation, the flowers, the hiking and biking trails leading into Cheyenne Caon.

How often do you visit open-space areas? I visit at least one open space area a week. I make it a point to visit and learn them all.

What's your favorite open-space activity? Hiking. Identifying flowers.

Name an area that fell prey to development that you wish had been preserved. The quarries. If we're not careful, we're going to lose Red Rock Canyon, too.

What's your definition of "highest and best use"? Non-motorized. Foot-usage. Keeping open space open and preserving it to enjoy with my grandkids.

What would Colorado Springs be like without its open-space enclaves? I'm a native, so I can't envision it without them. If we didn't have them, I hope my parents would have had the sense to leave and move to an area that does.

click to enlarge Michelle Leggitt-Fein
  • Michelle Leggitt-Fein

Michelle Leggitt-Fein
Downtown
Director of Globe Charter School

What is your favorite local open-space area? North and South Cheyenne Caon.

What's your favorite open space activity? Hiking and picnicking.

What's your favorite trail? For hiking, it's Cheyenne Caon. For biking, it's the Shook's Run loop. I can get to it from my house.

What's your definition of "highest and best use"? Restricting four-wheel vehicles. Preserving open space whenever and wherever possible.

Name an area that fell prey to development that you wish had been preserved. Gleneagle. Also, the wooded area north of Monument.

What would Colorado Springs be like without its open-space enclaves? Not nearly as nice a place to live. Friends and relatives visiting from out of town are always amazed at how you can be in a natural area within a five-minute drive from downtown.

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