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Re: “Loss of a beloved trail in Jones Park is leading to interesting proposals

The closure of the Historic Trail to Jones Park is a failure of government.

The Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit aimed to prevent motorcycle use of the area, never intended to close the trail or prevent hiking and mountain bikes. The CBD website states: Access by hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders is not affected by the agreement. Today, the CBD representatives state that they have never been contacted by the USFS or El Paso County about the closure plan (they oppose).

The greenback cut throat trout (GBT) have never been classified as endangered. The fish have thrived in Bear Creek since their introduction in 1903, when: a saddlebag of trout was hauled in from the Platte. The GBT prospered even though the trail was used by teams of horses, livery wagons, mining carts, logging companies then motorcycles and hikers. Today, the GBT have expanded from the saddlebag to over a 1,000 in Bear Creek, 5,000 in the Salida fishery, an unknown amount in the Leadville fishery, and the GBT have been introduce in two secret locations. As the Colorado Wildlife head of the program, Doug Krieger, said, "The trout are doing just fine. "

The wheels were put in motion to close the Historic Trial despite there been no evidence that hikers caused any loss of habitat for the fish. The US Forest Service District Ranger, Alan Hahn, stated that there was no study or scientific evidence concerning hiker impact. As personnel shifted at the USFS, the agency dug in that closure was needed despite the lack of evidence.

The Bypass Trail cost estimates are $500,000 with $165,000 for closure of the Historic Trial. Estimates are not final as significant dynamite blasting was required. The new trail is poor for hiking due to lack of water, birds, flowers or historical areas of interest. It is doubtful that this trail can ever be improved after blasting and grading despite the claims of the County. The USFS and County have cut thousands healthy blue spruce and forest for this project. Veteran hikers refer to the decommissioning as vandalism rather than improvement. I urge everyone to go and see for yourselves the job that was done.

The Historic Trail was the original route to the summit of Pikes Peak. Long before Barr Trail, the Bear Creek route was pioneered by the US Signal Corps for a station on Pikes Peak. The construction was supervised by CS Mayor, Matt France, as the road served over 60 cabins and 200 or more settlers at Jones Park and the Lake House. Owners with a real estate interest included: Haggerman (builder of the Midland RR and owner of First National Bank), the Bonbright brothers (owners of Exchange National Bank and Colorado Electric Company), J.A. Connell (Commonwealth Title), W. Stratton (planned RR Cripple Creek), E. Tenney (president of Colorado College) H. Hunt (future mayor and Washington representative) as well as women pioneers Captain Jack and E. Giles.

In the end, there was a loss of a historic trail to a historic site. No fish were saved and lots of user money was wasted. Dont vote for any of the current El Paso Commissioners.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by MChaussee on 06/27/2018 at 12:19 PM

Re: “The law of the land

The issue is somewhat different than explained. Generally, local control is better than federal control for issues such as parks because the citizens that use the parks are the ones that care the most. Local control is better than federal control because citizens have the ability to meet with local elected officials for any issues.

The threat of hikers being arrested by untrained forest rangers is concerning. There are many recent examples where the threat of enforcement has been used by the U.S. Forest Service against the local hiking community:

---At the public meetings for Jones Park, the U.S. Forest Service prominently displayed signs at every meeting with the penalties (jail time and fine) for hiking in the area. While the public continued to use the area, the threat of enforcement was used as an intimidation tactic. No one was arrested, but why threaten the thousands of users that summer? [even Doug Lamborn was run over by the USFS on this issue - his office did hike in protest of the ban].

---At the Bear Creek Roundtable, the U.S. Forest Service continues to push for enforcement of penalties against local hikers (proposed ordinance against off-trail hiking was recently discussed). The Historic Trail is scheduled for closure this summer, and the U.S. Forest Service maintains that local hikers will be dragged into federal court if they hike off-trail.

In the example cited at Mount Herman, I do not understand why the county sheriff would not be able to enforce a ban on shooting. The law to reimburse local agencies for the cost of enforcement seems reasonable.

Misuse of the power of enforcement is the concern. I prefer local control, supervised by an elected official, to what I have seen by the U.S. Forest Service. The criminal activity cited is: local hikers being off-trail. Not much of a crime except to the federal government. Why not leave this to the discretion of the local sheriff?

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by MChaussee on 02/11/2017 at 11:22 AM

Re: “A conservation easement could settle some land-swap issues, but it's complicated

Good reporting on a topic in the limelight.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by MChaussee on 05/18/2016 at 6:04 PM

Re: “Appraisal process accelerated for city's Strawberry Fields 'Disposal Project'

Once the Broadmoor owns Strawberry, they will get a "highest and best use" appraisal common to real estate transactions. The City will lose a scarce open space and $10M of value in the deal.

Karen Palus needs to get her stories straight.

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by MChaussee on 04/20/2016 at 4:13 PM

Re: “UPDATE: Parks Board approves land swap

How can anyone vote for this without seeing the appraisals?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by MChaussee on 04/20/2016 at 4:01 PM

Re: “City refuses to release appraisals in Broadmoor land exchange; opponents start to mobilize

The Parks Department should stay out of the business of deal making with private developers and stick to managing parks. Appraisals should been done and released prior to any announcement of support by the Parks Department. Good real estate practice requires a written contract, but this is an oral agreement so no one can question it. Good exchange analysis requires that the price the Broadmoor paid for the land be considered, but instead the City allows a markup of 20 times. Now, the appraisals are a secret from the people that pay taxes. What a process.

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by MChaussee on 04/06/2016 at 9:26 PM

Re: “Springs taxpayers paid for these four to move here

"Tampa parks and recreation director Karen Palus and a top lieutenant left their jobs this week amid a city effort to make the oft-criticized department more responsive."

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by MChaussee on 03/25/2016 at 1:31 PM

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