North Cheyenne Cañon Park
A proposed land swap of Colorado Springs park land for in exchange for land owned by the Broadmoor Hotel, will ensure that access
to Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline will remain open, will extend the reach of North Cheyenne Cañon Park, and help make the continuation of the Chamberlain Trail become a reality.
Under the proposed deal, the city would give the Broadmoor 189.5 acres of land on the southern side of North Cheyenne Cañon Park known as “Strawberry Fields” aa well as a parcel near the base of the Manitou Incline that is currently being used by the Cog Railway. In return, the Broadmoor will turn over 208 acres of land it owns that borders the southwest corner of North Cheyenne Cañon Park, along with approximately 155 acres it owns that straddles the lower end of Barr Trail and middle part of the Manitou Incline and nine acres bordering Bear Creek Regional Park.
The city will also gain permanent easements — agreements for city use of the land — on a section of the Barr Trail that is on private property and not included in the two parcels, as well as permanent easements into the Strawberry Fields area. The city also gain access for proposed extensions of the Chamberlain Trail that will eventually continue south from North Cheyenne Cañon Park, past the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain State Park and eventually to Fountain.
The Broadmoor intends to use the Strawberry Fields area currently in North Cheyenne Cañon Park for horse stables
and to provide horseback riding for its guests and the public. The parcel was never developed by the city, though several “social” trails have existed there for some time.
As for the parcels on the Barr Trail and the Incline, the access agreement with the property owners expired a few years ago, according to Karen Palus of city's parks department. Without either a new agreement or having the land become publicly owned, there was nothing to stop the property owner from closing the trails.
The 208 acres the city will receive on the west side of the park includes the very southern tip of Mt. Muscoco, the western end of the Daniels Pass trail and also a section of Gold Camp Road south of tunnel #3. It also incorporates land to the east of Gold Camp Road and south of Daniels Pass.
So, what does all this mean to users of these parks and trails? In the short term, nothing will change. There is a lot of legal work to be done and at least one public meeting to be held to give the public a chance to familiarize themselves with the details of the swap.
In the long term, access to Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline will not be subject to the whims of a private owner and a large section of the proposed extension of the Chamberlain Trail will have dedicated land to build on. It also means a new section of North Cheyenne Cañon Park will be open to possible trail building and exploration in the future.
An open house about the land swap will be held on January 28th from 6 to 8pm at Bear Creek Nature Center (245 Bear Creek Road). You can see a map of the proposed land swap by clicking on the attached PDF.
Map of the proposed land swaps
Colorado Springs Parks Department
BONUS: January 18th is Martin Luther King Day and admission is free to all National Parks. Take advantage of the free day to explore Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, or Great Sand Dunes or Rocky Mountain National Parks.
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor and business owner who has lived in Colorado Springs for over 24 years. He is Past-President of the Friends of Cheyenne Cañon and a member of the El Paso County Parks Advisory Board. You can follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: firstname.lastname@example.org.