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Hairshirt Rider
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FYI - If you are not on the Medicine Wheel mailing list you may have missed this. Read through to the bottom. In addition to the San Isabel/Pike National Forest managment plan, there is info about access to land managed by Colorado Springs Utilities in and around Pikes Peak.

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Fellow cyclists,

There are several items of importance for Colorado Springs cyclists that I'd
like to bring to your attention. Both of them will dictate what access for
bikers in this region is like for the foreseeable future. It is imperative
that you make your voice known if you would like to continue to have access
to current trails and if you would like to see more trails opened to bikes
in this region (whether existing trails or ones you'd like to see built).

If you care about this and would like to play a part in dictating where you
can ride, please try to attend the meetings or, at the very least, send
email comments. I've outlined the issues, public meetings, and contacts
below. Involvement in meetings like these has resulted in the Freeride Area
in Red Rock Canyon, among other cool places to ride, so get involved!

Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information. Hope I
see you at the meetings!

Thanks,

Jim Yount
[email protected]
719-540-1505

***************************************************
The Management Plan for the Pike & San Isabel National Forests is being
revised. Public comments and meeting will help dictate how these Forests
are managed for the next 15 years! The Forest Service wants to here from
the Forest's owners (You!), so drop by or drop them a line and help them
out.

If would like these Forests to remain friendly to cyclists or have anything
you'd like to see, change, reinforce, etc., please go to the local meeting,
send an email, or write a letter.

The flyer for the local meetings is posted at

http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/projects/forest_revision/for_mtgs_flyer1.pdf

The Colorado Springs meeting is next Wednesday, 1/31/07; 5:30 p.m. - 9:00
p.m. at the La Foret Conference Center, 6145 Shoup Rd.

One reason you might be interested in commenting is that some people would
like to see the whole west and south slope of Pikes Peak, among 10 other
places in central Colorado, be designated as Wilderness.

THAT MEANS NO BIKES!!!!

We all care about conservation - otherwise we wouldn't have cool places to
ride! However, there are options other than Wilderness designation to
protect the resources (land, water, wildlife, etc.) and eliminate commercial
development. For more information on Widerness in general as it applies to
bikes, as well as some other options for conservation, see

http://www.imba.com/resources/wilderness/index.html

The Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition (http://www.ccwcwilderness.org/)
would like to see Wilderness designation and they are planning on
attending/commenting in large numbers. Here's how they plan on impacting
the Management Plan through the public process:

%%%%%%%%%%%%
Please plan to arrive at the meetings by 5:00 p.m. to discuss the meeting
format, strategy and suggestions for making effective comments at the
meeting. We will gather in a corner of the room filled with Forest Service
maps and posters prior to the meeting. Look for the blue shirts!

ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING AND SPEAK UP!
You will get the most out of the meeting if you come prepared to answer the
questions that will be presented to the small groups. Here are some
suggestions of what to say:
. Protect and expand opportunities for quiet recreation. The vast majority
of forest users want to experience natural sights, sounds, and smells.
. Manage all forms of recreational use in the forest in a balanced way so as
to preserve the recreational experience of all users, but with the ultimate
goal of achieving healthy and fully functioning ecosystems for the
indefinite future.
. Recommend that all citizen proposed wilderness areas be included in the
plan and managed to protect wilderness values.
. Protect wildlife, including their seasonal and migration habitat, from
increased disturbances, and work to decrease habitat fragmentation and
resource degradation.
. Protect 100% of the official Inventoried Roadless Areas. Additionally,
the official inventory should be updated to include citizen proposed
roadless areas.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

To counter a "no bike" approach to management, emphasize all of the above
(Hey, they're important to us too and why we enjoy riding), but with the
caveat that bicycle access be allowed by protecting with designations other
than Wilderness.

If you can't make the meeting, you can send comments by March 2, 2007 to:

Pike-San Isabel National Forests
Attn: Forest Plan Revision Team
2840 Kachina Drive,
Pueblo, CO 81008

Or

[email protected]

Also check out the Pike-San Isabel website at
http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/

**************************************************************************
The other issue is the current public process that Colorado Springs
Utilities is undergoing to come up with a formal Watershed Access Policy.
This policy will dictate where you will have access on CSU land.

This impacts numerous parcels of land throughout the City and County,
including , as with the Forest Service Management Plan above, the South
Slope of Pikes Peak. In addition, it covers the North Slope (Catamount
Reservoirs), Waldo Canyon, portions of the East Slope of Pikes Peaks (St.
Marys Falls region among others), Rampart Range Reservoir, etc. So biking
can be heavily impacted by any policy they enact.

There was even a recent Gazette article on the issue on Dec. 12, 2006 (front
page of the Metro section).

The draft policy (the policy, along with other information, can be found at
http://www.csu.org/about/projects/watershed/ and basically lays out three
zones (1-3) with varying levels of access. Zone 1 = no public access, Zone
2 = trail corridor access only, and Zone 3 = limited public access.

At the first public meeting in November, a map was displayed (it is posted
on the site shown above) in which the entire South and Eastern Slopes of
Pikes Peak were Zone 1 (no access), including not only CSU land, but large
swaths of National Forest land as well. There was essentially no Zone 2
(only a very small parcel directly West of the Pikes Peak summit).

Scott Campbell of CSU has stated that the map was misunderstood and
frustrating to those at the 1st meeting and that it is being revised for the
2nd public meeting. The revision will supposedly zone only CSU land (not
National Forest) and he also has stated that the placing of Zone 2 corridors
is ongoing and that all "accepted use" trails on CSU property will have Zone
2 corridors around them. However, CSU does manage National Forest Land, so
they still might restrict access on land coincident with the first map but
just not tell you that during the public process because it is separate from
the Watershed Access Plan (I'm not a cynic!).

However, it is up to us to ensure that the trails we love are Zone 2 and not
simply leave it up to CSU to define "accepted use." For example, he stated
that official (numbered, like 701 for example) Forest Service Trails are
"accepted use," as is Barr Trail, but that we shouldn't expect "social"
trails to become Zone 2.

Questions abound, such as how these Zones will be enforced (what if someone
accidentally wanders into a Zone 1 region because they followed a "social"
trail that they have no way of knowing isn't "accepted use"), why they don't
start with most regions as Zone 3 (limited public access) and restrict the
zoning on these regions as need/use/problems/etc. dictate (in other words,
leave it open unless sufficient reason exists to restrict access, not the
other way around as they plan to - they admitted that it was a good
question, but they wouldn't answer it), how much protection do our
reservoirs really need (if they are remote, or, at the opposite extreme
heavily trafficked (lots of witnesses), one would assume that restrictions
would be minimal), how vulnerable are the reservoirs (that you will never
get an answer to), why not use this opportunity to see if there are
additional trails that could be designated as "accepted use" and designated
Zone 2 (I was explicitly told that this will not be happening - there is a
process by which you can submit a trail to see if they can designate it as
Zone 2, but I wouldn't hold my breath - after all, they define "accepted
use" and it is likely not in their best interest to provide access to
anything other than the bare minimum of "accepted use" trails), etc.

They plan on presenting the final Plan to the Utilities Board (City Council)
on April 21st, but at this point they don't plan on having a final map (they
see the map and the Access Plan as two separate concerns). It has been
stressed to them that they need to include the map in the Plan, but we'll
see if that occurs. If it isn't included, then they might not have a public
process for the map (for actual designation of Zone 2 trails that can be
accessed versus inaccessible ones).

So it's up to you - if you have a favorite trail that you'd like to protect
or gain access to, try to make the meeting(s) or send in comments.

The meetings are :
Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007 & Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007
6 to 8 p.m.
Leon Young Service Center
1521 Hancock Expressway

Or email comments to both:
Scott Campbell
Water Services Division Manager
[email protected]
 
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