Opinion: This land is our land 

Your Turn

A map distributed recently during a public meeting designated several parcels of land proposed for a swap between Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor. The accompanying text indicated the swap would be a real benefit to the city.

Make no mistake: The Broadmoor is not serving our interests but theirs. The parcel east of Seven Falls is the main problem.

I've lived in Cheyenne Cañon since 1947. I went to school at Cheyenne Mountain when it was K-through-12. I heard lectures every Friday by Pappy Shaw on subjects including how delicate the earth is in a semi-arid area. We all regarded The Broadmoor as a happy and generous playmate.

Today, I am a newly appointed director (one of five total) for the Cheyenne Creek Metropolitan Park and Water District, created in 1980 to monitor the waterway. My concerns about the swap follow:

1. The uses proposed for Strawberry Fields appear to include attracting a large number of users, probably hotel guests and local citizens, which seems benign until you visualize the traffic, consider the noise in a wildlife corridor, and lights that disturb and threaten the wildlife those same people find so interesting and attractive. The uses are not compatible with any previous or current use of the outdoor native area we now have.

I walk the newly completed trail linking Broadmoor facilities and Seven Falls often, and though I see many tour buses bringing patrons to Seven Falls, I rarely see guests actually use it. It was apparently a "lead in" to the larger idea of a stable and outdoor picnic facility.

2. Our community has twice been brought to its knees by raging wildfire, the results of which we are still enduring. It has been noted repeatedly — as recently as last week — that the next site of conflagration could very possibly be the Cheyenne Mountain area and the contiguous Broadmoor, Broadmoor Valley, Broadmoor Bluffs and Broadmoor Heights neighborhoods.

I witnessed the fire in 1950 when it consumed the mountain and jumped the highway into the Fort Carson barracks area, killing 13 people. We don't want to see a repeat that would devalue the entire area.

3. Wildlife includes native species of fish. Much recent discussion has centered on the greenback cutthroat and threats to a newly discovered population so rare and endangered that new rules are being implemented in Bear Creek and that watershed. We have that same species of cutthroat in Cheyenne Creek, but drainage from a stable and the accumulating manure would annihilate all natural water populations — to say nothing of the fact that people do not always respect our local areas, water or forests.

Those of us who live in the Cañon constantly pick up trash and worse: cigarette butts and alcohol containers! Drainage from a stable area would naturally go to Cheyenne Creek.

4. Many of us who had horses growing up spent many enjoyable hours exercising horses for the existing Broadmoor stables. Great fun! We rode for free and they had well-exercised horses.

Problem was that guests rarely wanted to ride and horses get rank when not ridden. There were not enough employees to do the exercise, so we were cheap help. It worked — twice — until the stable became too costly for the hotel in both attempts. I can't believe it will be viable this time either. Put the stable at Emerald Valley where it makes sense.

5. The environmental concerns are many, and I'm sure other threats will surface.

Finally, it is an age-old political premise that one entity should never have absolute control.

Local citizens know The Broadmoor's value to the community; its owners have graciously saved Seven Falls, the hotel, Pauline Chapel, Emerald Valley Ranch and the Gazette.

Our concern is that our Cheyenne Cañon area does not need the encroachment from adding Strawberry Fields to The Broadmoor's ownership and control.

Carefully consider where the true benefit of this land swap is.

Kathy Wade, a director of the Cheyenne Creek Metropolitan Park and Water District, has lived in Colorado Springs for 75 years.

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