Sep 19, 2011 8:37 PM by Stephanie Collins

Ute Pass Trail debate

El Paso County wants to develop the Ute Pass Trail from the Manitou to cascade.

It would connect it to several other trail systems like the American Discovery Trail and Ring the Peak but some in Cascade are upset about what's being proposed, "We want the trail to go through, but not in this location, it's just the wrong location," explains resident Nicole Warner.

The potential location that residents don't like is along the Frontage Road, next to Highway 24. One of their main concerns, safety, "You'd have people hiking right next to Highway 24, extremely busy, extremely dangerous," adds Warner.

The county hopes signs to mark the trail will help keep hikers safe and off the private properties next to the road, another concern from residents, "I think if we can get the signs up to say, private property on the other side, don't go over there; mark the trail with a line on the street, basically saying please stay here and don't bother the neighbors, that does work," says Bill Koerner with the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

Another concern from residents along this proposed trail is space. Warner says she has to park on the Frontage Road in front of her house, because she doesn't have a driveway, an she's worried about the extra traffic the trail could bring, "Where I live you can see I have to park on the Frontage Road. I don't know how they'll maintain or keep people from coming here and parking, parking in our driveways, coming over can I use your restroom, do you have some water?"

While Cascade residents aren't convinced, the county says putting in a designated trailhead with parking will solve that issue. They also don't think the trail will be that busy. They are still considering other locations, but say this is the best fit right now because it doesn't require them to cut through private property, "Through a lot of work, for many years, there's just no other place to put it," adds Koerner.

The county received a grant that they say will cover the 3.5 mile section through Manitou. They say they'll be using volunteers to build the remaining trail, of just over a mile, through cascade.

El Paso County says this is all still in the early stages, they have months of planning and public meetings ahead. They don't anticipate starting any work on the trail until next spring.

A date for the next public meeting hasn't been set yet, click here to see notes from previous meetings.



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