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Sep 22, 2013 10:36 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Manitou Incline needs help after suffering damage during recent storms

The Manitou Incline suffered considerable damage during recent heavy rainstorms and Incline Friends, the non-profit responsible for its upkeep, is asking for the communities help to fix it.

Despite cloudy skies on Sunday afternoon the Incline was fairly busy. David McKinnon came from Denver to conquer the legendary climb that takes hikers 2,000-feet up in less than a mile.

"It's pretty hard, it was brutal, it's very difficult," McKinnon said on his way down. "You kind of feel like you're getting ready to be at the top and then you got to keep going, but it feels good, it's a great accomplishment."

Being unfamiliar with the Incline McKinnon didn't really notice the boulders and washouts near the top of the Incline.

"Yeah, I didn't think anything of it, I could see that some of the trail needs a little work," he described.

Sandi Yukman, Vice President of Incline Friends, is thinking a lot about the damage and said it's going to take more than a little work to repair thanks to the recent heavy rains.

"What has always been an extreme trail is now a little bit more extreme," Yukman explained. "There's quite a bit of damage to the erosion control structures on the sides, big boulders came and took out the erosion control and washed a bunch of the ties down."

Some of the railroad tie steps leading up the incline were washed away, where the others remain the ground around them has eroded away in some areas. But, it isn't just the rain that's causing problems. Wear and tear has contributed to the issue, ever since the Incline officially became legal to climb this year its popularity has soared. Between July 20th and Sept. 22nd of this year a counter placed on the incline recorded that 61,000 people made or attempted to make the climb.

"We estimate 350,000 to 500,000 trips a year, now that it's legal more and more people are doing it," Yukman said. "So it's getting used a lot more and so it needs more maintenance."

Incline Friends traditionally has depended on the work of volunteers to perform maintenance, but some of the damage recently sustained can only be repaired by professionals. To get the work done the group has applied for $550,000 in grants, but needs to raise at least $200,000 in matching funds. As always, there are donation bins for maintenance work set-up along the incline and everyone who makes the climb is asked to donate at least one dollar to help with repairs.

"Come on out and help us, we all love the Incline, it's a great attraction, it's a great workout," Yukman explained. "It's still open, but it's just a little more extreme than it used to be."

A fundraiser including dinner and a show is scheduled for Oct. 4th and a workday for volunteers is scheduled for Oct. 12th to perform lighter maintenance.  More information on how to donate and help the Incline can be found at www.inclinefriends.com

 

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