When will the Waldo Canyon Trail reopen?

Planners hope to know by end of year

Effort to restore Waldo Canyon Trail updated

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It's been two years since we last checked in on the effort to restore the popular Waldo Canyon Trail, damaged by the major wildfire seven years ago.

The 6.5-mile trail, which is along U.S. 24 in Ute Pass, was damaged by the fire and the flooding afterward. It's been closed since.

A group of four planners acquired a $45,000 state grant to formulate a restoration plan and has presented three options at a series of public meetings.

"The plan would be to use as much of the old trail as possible," said Susan Davies, of the Trails and Open Space Coalition.  "After that, how can we make it better?  Should we connect it to other trails?  Where should the trailheads be?"

Planners hope to decide on a final plan that meets the approval of the U.S. Forest Service after the final public meeting in October.

"I think a lot of folks are very aware that the trail is not going to be the way they left it," Davies said. 

Sections of the trail likely will be rebuilt higher than their original locations to stay out of the flood plain and avoid future flooding and erosion damage, she said.

The time and cost required to restore the trail haven't been determined.

"Building a trail in a forest could cost as much as $25,000 per mile," Davies said.  "But public support for the trail is there and that should make it easier to find funding or ger donations for it."

TOSC, Colorado Springs, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute and the Forest Service are the planners involved in trying to restore the trail.

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