The city's master plan for North Cheyenne Cañon drew a crowd on the night of Jan. 25.
A session to discuss the North Cheyenne Cañon Park Master Plan drew more than 200 people to Cheyenne Mountain High School the night of Jan. 25, and it's no mystery as to why.
The city Parks Department has come up with several options to better manage vehicle traffic through the park, including prohibiting vehicles altogether, in which case a shuttle service might be the answer.
One plan would actually add parking spaces, growing them from the current 497 to 524, a 5 percent increase. In addition, under one scenario, 42 pullouts would be reduced to 12. There's also talk of charging fees for vehicles to drive through the park if vehicles continue to be allowed, although no figures were disclosed.
Driving the master plan are concerns over access, including vehicles, climbing, cycling, interpretation for nature walks and the like, management of maintenance and enforcing rules such as off-leash dogs and horse waste disposal, fire mitigation, public safety, special events and regulations dictating the use of trails.
The master planning process, which began in July, will end with final approval by the Parks Advisory Board in May.
The next meeting is at 6 p.m. on Feb. 1 at Cheyenne Mountain High School. Its focus will be trails and interpretative programs.
On Jan. 25, parks official Priscilla Marbaker said the goal of adopting a new master plan is to enhance the visitor experience, ease traffic congestion, reduce dust and erosion and ease parking conflicts, fumes and noise, while also improving safe passage for visitors.
"Doing nothing," she said, isn't an option because of increased vandalism of the park, impacts on natural resources, accidents and projected increases in visitation.
"Our parks are being loved to death," she said, noting an 8 percent increase per year of visitors using city parks.
As for fees, possibilities include an "all year drive through pass" and parking passes. The park might be closed at night, as is Palmer Park located near the center of Colorado Springs.
If shuttle buses are deemed a viable alternative, a separate study would be necessary "to figure out how it would work," she said.
In the midst of Marbaker's presentation, one citizen called out, "Why don't you give the whole Cheyenne Cañon to The Broadmoor?" To which Marbaker replied, "If that's something you want to do, put it on your feedback card."
The Broadmoor owns Seven Falls, which is located in Cheyenne Cañon. It runs shuttles from The Broadmoor Hotel just east of the falls. The resort also acquired the 186-acre Strawberry Fields open space, which lies on the south side of the park and near Seven Falls, via a land trade with the city finalized in late 2016. The land swap remains tied up in litigation, and a ruling from the Colorado Court of Appeals is expected in coming weeks regarding a citizen group's argument that voters should have been consulted on the trade.
Learn more about the master plan process by going here