Graffiti 'art' will be wiped away at Rainbow Falls

Graffiti 'art' going away at Rainbow Falls

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - El Paso County Community Services said it will wipe away all of the graffiti at Rainbow Falls Recreation Area in Manitou Springs as part of its master improvement plan.

It's a losing battle for visitors who consider the graffiti as 'art'.

"We brought our dog down to what they call the graffiti bridge," said Jon Reader.

That's what most visitors call the area, but the County now wants everyone to refer to it as Rainbow Falls. The graffiti is on the bridge under Highway 24 and on the rocks around the waterfall.

 "I think some of the artwork is beautiful," said hiker Paulette Collins.

While Collins considers most of it art, she said she doesn't think anyone should vandalize the rocks.

The total cost for the Rainbow Falls Access Improvement Project is $385,000 - 80 percent of that is funded by a Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant, through the State Surface Transportation Improvement Program. Restricted regional park fees will provide the County's match and the City of Manitou Springs is contributing $5,000.

Visitors say the problem they have is getting rid of the 'art' versus graffiti.

"I'd be sad to see it go. It's people's art. It's pretty creative stuff they're writing on there," said Reader.

However, the County says it will wipe away all of the said 'artwork'.

"The county certainly appreciates creative endeavors, but in this particular location where the focus is on the natural environment and Fountain Creek, it's just not appropriate," said Elaine Kleckner, the Planning Manager for El Paso County Community Services Department.

The County also wants to improve Rainbow Falls by re-working trails, making a more park-like area at the base of the falls and updating the parking lot.

"We're hoping that by bringing families, more construction use here, the emphasis will be less on graffiti and more on a beautiful, outdoor experience," said Kleckner.

"They are trying to improve it for the tourists and the people that live and I think that's a great idea," said Collins.

Graffiti is considered vandalism at Rainbow Falls. El Paso County Sheriff's Office patrols will be there to stop vandals.

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