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Barr Trail parking rates reduced

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BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
The city of Manitou Springs will lower rates at the popular Barr Trail parking lot, where many locals have long parked to hike to the top of Pikes Peak or conquer the Manitou Incline trail.

In June, the town raised rates at the lot to $40 a day, but, as reported in the Pikes Peak Bulletin, Senior Planner Michelle Anthony said that the high price tag combined with a cumbersome reservation system have led to the lot not being used, cutting revenues by 50 percent compared to the year before.

Fees will now be seasonal: $10 per vehicle per day from Nov. 1 to April 30, and $5 an hour per vehicle (with a $30 daily maximum) during the rest of the year. Barr hikers/campers will pay $5 per day per vehicle.

Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, said she hoped the change would bring more money in to support trail maintenance, particularly for the Barr Trail, the first few miles of which is used as the route down for Incline hikers. Parking funds originally set aside for that purpose have been drastically reduced due to prohibitively high parking fees and Manitou’s use of parking fees for its shuttle, she said. Meanwhile, Davies said, the cost of maintaining and improving the trail continues to increase.

From 2013 to 2016, Manitou’s trail funding sat at $40,000 a year. But the allocation dropped in 2017 to $35,000 and in 2018 to $16,128. The Rocky Mountain Field Institute, which does much of the maintenance on the trail, noted in a recent report, “It is estimated that $60,000 to $80,000 is needed on an annual basis to effectively maintain the first 3 miles of the Barr Trail.”

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