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Reader: Springs should take a note from Amsterdam 

This week, the Spiegel international online edition published an article titled "A City Tries to Save Itself: Amsterdam Seeks to Rein in Tourists." The header reads: "In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that Amsterdam, a city of 850,000, is unable to cope with the 18 million tourists who visit each year. City planners are experimenting with ways of limiting their numbers."

After reading the full article, we find there are many parallels between the "over loved" tourist hot spots in the Pikes Peak Region and the tourism problem in Amsterdam. For those of us who live here and used to enjoy hiking and biking in the Garden of the Gods, hanging out in Manitou Springs, driving west to destinations along Highway 24, etc., tourism has become a problem here as well. The car traffic in all of these areas is now a nightmare on weekends. Clearly, tourism is a major component of the local economy, but in our opinion current tourism practices are about to destroy the quality of life for the people who actually live here. We don't want to end up living like the residents in Amsterdam.

The Gateway Road into the Garden of the Gods is now often clogged with Segway tours, rented bicycle tours, tour buses, and lost pedestrians in with the car traffic who don't understand the maps handed out at the (truly wonderful) visitor center. We worry the city of Colorado Springs' park managers might be about to permit carnival rides in the central Garden next year!

Limits on the numbers of visitors to popular attractions have been successful elsewhere. This may be worth thinking about here.

— John and Joan Leach

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