MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs city leaders said the Manitou Incline, a popular hiking trail, is closer to legalization than ever.
Currently, about 350,000 hikers use the trail illegally every year.
Kurt Schroeder is the manager of the city of Colorado Springs parks, trails, and open space. He said city leaders are hopeful to have the Incline legalized by this summer.
"There's a lot of players involved, so it's been a very protracted process simply because so many hands are in the pot, so to speak," Schroeder said.
Those players include the city of Colorado Springs, which will be in charge of maintaining the inline.
The city of Manitou Springs has already started collecting parking fees for cars that park in the Barr Trail parking lot. Parking costs $5 per car per day.
Colorado Springs Utilities, the Cog Railway, and the U.S. Forest Service own parts of the land where the incline crosses through.
Schroeder said Colorado Springs Utilities has already signed an agreement. An intergovernmental agreement between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs is expected to be signed in February.
"There are so many people who love it and use it," said Schroeder. "We're going to draw on them to be the users and the maintainers of the incline."
A local group called Incline Friends has started raising funds to help maintain the incline.
Their next fundraiser is planned for Jan. 25 at Phantom Canyon Brewery.
For more information on Incline Friends, click here.