Packed House for Re-Imagine Waldo Canyon Community Workshop #1
The first of three community meetings in the process of re-opening Waldo Canyon to recreation was held last Wednesday evening. I and about 200 other people packed the Hillside Community Center gym to hear about what the process will entail, and were also given opportunity to express concerns, opportunities, and priorities related to the project.
The planning project itself is projected to take about a year and a half, and will be presented in mid-2020, so it’s going to be awhile – years – before any trails are actually open. Still, it’s exciting to know that the area will be open to recreation again in the foreseeable future.
Much concern was expressed over access points to the Waldo Canyon area once trails are actually built, as the Colorado Department of Transportation has said that the former parking area on Highway 24 is unsafe and will not be re-opened. Even if it were, it sounds like the parking area on 24 was inadequate much of the time anyway, so hopefully the trail system will be accessible from multiple locations to spread out the congestion. (Jeremy and I have never actually been to Waldo Canyon; something about having young children kept us from exploring trails until the past few years – but now we’re making up for lost time.)
Pineries Open Space in Black Forest Slated to Actually Open in 2019
I’m personally very excited to hear that the Pineries Open Space, on the northeast corner of Vollmer and Shoup Roads in the Black Forest area, will be opening in 2019, according to El Paso County Parks director Tim Wolken on the Hiking Bob podcast:
“It’s been long enough, it’s time for us do that. …We’re going to have a grand opening in 2019.”
The 1,067-acre Pineries Open Space is projected to have 6-8 miles of mixed-use trails. It sounds like they are still working on some agreements for access points, but it should be easy to connect The Pineries Open Space with Black Forest Section 16, which is just across the road, on the southwest side of the same intersection (Vollmer and Shoup). I personally put in over 100 laps on my bike on Section 16’s four-mile loop in 2018, so I’m very excited to be able to connect those open spaces for a longer loop!
The restrooms at Pineries Open Space are already installed, and some trails have been built, but none of it is open yet. 2019 is going to be the year!
- Pineries Open Space Master Plan
- Hiking Bob Podcast Episode with El Paso County Parks Director
This episode has great information on planned projects for El Paso County parks, including Cane Ranch (an open space east of Fountain), Elephant Rock Open Space, and development of an additional 300 acres in the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, which could include trails that are open to dogs, bikes, etc. – currently not allowed at the main Paint Mines site)