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Jun 23, 2011 11:52 PM by Matt Stafford

Mountain bikers unhappy with changes to local trail

Thursday was Chris Lynch's first experience with the new steps at Section 16 open space in Colorado Springs -- a longtime popular trail.

"I think they add a little bit of a challenge, make it a little bumpier," says Lynch; he acknowledges it's not the smoothest of rides, but he sees the need.

"All in all I think it will save the trail from bad erosion," says Lynch. "(I) appreciate the effort."

However, not everyone is for the efforts of local volunteers -- who were working on the steps for National Trails Day earlier in the month.

"There's definitely some areas that need attention so the go ahead was given for them to perform some work," says Kurt Schroeder with the Colorado Springs Parks Department. "It needed some support, some stabilization, and some steps were created,"

But now the city is hearing about it from trail users.

"We're hearing from some users; particularly mountain bikers, who this isn't the way they would approach correcting this problem," says Schroeder.

Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, A group that volunteers lots of time to maintaining local trails, told News First 5 that the trail was repaired in a way that excludes an entire group of users -- mountain bikers. They say, "It is unfortunate the work was done prior to the public master plan process," and that they "hope that any further work in the area in question will await the completion of the public process."

"Maybe got a little ahead of ourselves with allowing that work to move ahead," acknowledges Schroeder.

Lynch says he can see why people are upset, but he's not one of them.

"Yeah some people, but it's just kind of part of the terrain -- it adds to the challenge," says Lynch.

The changes come just as Colorado Springs enters the early stages of master planning Section 16, along with nearby White Acres and Red Rocks. Until they know what that plan will be, they say the steps will stay.

"It's providing support right now, and it's serving a purpose; unfortunately it's deterring one of the recreational uses and that's certainly something we don't do," says Schroeder. He says they hope to get plenty of mountain biker input as they plan the area's future.

For more on Colorado Springs' master planning of parks, click here.

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