Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Manitou Incline to close immediately

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 8:50 AM

click to enlarge Looking down the Incline from near the top. - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Looking down the Incline from near the top.
The iconic Manitou Incline will be closed to the public immediately, with the city of Manitou Springs declaring it “an attractive nuisance and health hazard.”
The order is included in an emergency resolution on the COVID-19 pandemic, passed by the city Tuesday, March 17.
The city noted the Incline attracted a total of 208,412 visitors from March through July 2019 — 36,699 visitors in March, 28,985 in April, 44,157 in May, 50,492 in June and 48,079 in July.
“These visitors were encouraged to use free shuttle buses, which are often packed to capacity during transit from parking areas to the Incline,” the resolution states.
Public restroom facilities are “insufficient or non-existent for the number of visitors using the Incline,” the city noted, adding “Use of the Incline property and surrounding properties to urinate and defecate, which is unsanitary and unlawful, has been frequently observed.
“Because conditions are unsuitable for public safety and welfare the Incline will be closed to the public immediately.”
According to reports on Manitou Incline online groups, there were at least 100 people on the Incline yesterday, despite COVID-19 warnings. Some regular Incline hikers said they expected it to “close soon for social distancing purposes.”
The Manitou Incline was built in 1906 to carry pipes up the side of Mount Manitou to the Ruxton Hydroelectric Plant. In 1912 it was converted to a tourist attraction, carrying passengers up the mountainside via cable car.
After a 1990 rock slide damaged a section of track, the Incline was closed and the cable car rails were removed.
It continued to attract locals, who hiked it for a tough but illegal workout (at the time, the Incline crossed private property).
The Incline has been legal to hike since February 2013.
The Incline covers 2,744 steps and climbs 2,000 feet in elevation in under 1 mile, and draws tourists from all over the country.
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