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Reimagining Waldo Canyon, no more dogs at Palmer Lake reservoirs, and more outdoors news

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BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
Six years after the Waldo Canyon fire devastated thousands of acres of the Pike National Forest just west of Colorado Springs, "Re-imagine Waldo Canyon," a project led by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute along with other partner organizations, kicked off this week.

The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan for the area that was an immensely popular hiking, cycling and camping destination. The public process will consist of roundtable discussions, meetings and outreach. (Disclosure: I am a "citizen representative" to the roundtable.)

The first step in the public outreach is this online survey aimed at gauging both the past experiences and future desires of Waldo Canyon users. In a statement, RMFI executive director Jennifer Peterson says this is the public's chance to help re-imagine the future of Waldo Canyon. The survey will be open through October 31, with the public meetings scheduled in 2019, RMFI Peterson says.

Pike National Forest District Ranger Oscar Martinez the area has recovered enough "that we can now ask what’s next." "Ultimately, opening or establishing a network of trails that incorporates what makes sense for the management of the forest while connecting to trails on City and County lands in this same general area," Martinez says. 

No pooches at Palmer Lake reservoirs

Due to concerns about water quality in the towns sole source for drinking water, the Town of Palmer Lake has banned dogs from one of its most popular trails. The ordinance, passed at the end of August, sets fines of $800 for people caught with dogs, on or off leash, in the reservoirs or the trail that runs from the end of Carriage Road along the two reservoirs, located west of the town.

Town Administrator Cathy Green says usage of the reservoir trails by hikers, runners and cyclist, many of whom bring their dogs, has greatly increased, but many don't pick up after their dogs and feces end up in the reservoir. Water department staff reported seeing a large increase in e-coli samples taken ahead of the water treatment plant, and although all water coming out of the plant is safe, there were concerns about rising e-coli levels.

Green says a volunteer recently spent a day cleaning up the trail and came back with forty pounds of dog waste that was left behind by dogs owners. Palmer Lake police are patrolling the area on a regular basis and will issue tickets for anyone seen in violation of the ordinance. 

More outdoor news

Saturday, September 29th is Bike Your Park Day, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is encouraging cyclists to visit one of Colorado's 41 state parks to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 2nd is the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. Signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, the act established National Scenic and Historic Trails, including the Continental Divide trail that runs through Colorado.

Happy Trails!

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