Black Forest Park sees post-fire repairs 

More than six years after the Black Forest fire devastated Black Forest Regional Park and much of the surrounding area, a trail reconstruction project has been completed in the park.

Funded by a Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the $245,101 project was completed by Meridiam Partners from Denver. 

According to El Paso County Parks Planning Supervisor Jason Meyer, the project resulted in 4.5 miles of new 6-foot and single-track width trails. The 6-foot wide trails, made of finely crushed stone "breeze," generally follow the alignments of the loop trails that existed in the park prior to the fire. Meanwhile, the natural surface single-track trails traverse the park, often intersecting with the wider trails. 

Meyer said that over 2 miles of fire and erosion damaged trails were closed as part of the project, since they were no longer sustainable. To keep the trails sustainable and to reduce the effects of erosion, none of the newly constructed trails have a grade of more than 12%. 

Since the funding for the project came from Disaster Recovery funds, the project was limited to the burned area of the park.
click to enlarge Part of the new 6' wide trail system in Black Forest Regional Park. - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Part of the new 6' wide trail system in Black Forest Regional Park.

This project finishes what has been a more than $800,000 of capital investment aimed at disaster recovery in the park since the fire. The park has already had forestry work completed and the Rocky Mountain Field Institute has done drainage repairs, trail stabilization and closures every year since the fire.

The burn area has been seeded with native grasses, shrubs and trees, including ponderosa pines and aspens. New trail information and wayfinding signs are anticipated to be installed by the spring of 2020, said Meyer. 

Once all the trails are mapped, the new trail alignments will be updated in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife COTREX app and trails website.
click to enlarge A new trail bridge in Black Forest Regional Park - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • A new trail bridge in Black Forest Regional Park

Once the home of towering pine trees, the park has been slowly recovering since the fire. Meyer expects that the park will have noticeable signs of recovery by next spring.

Be Good. Do Good Things.

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for  almost 28 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.


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