City Parks staff unveils style, substance of Red Rock interpretive plan

       Basic details about the interpretive plan for Red Rock Canyon Open Space emerged at a meeting of the Colorado Springs Parks Advisory Board Feb. 14.
       Matt Mayberry, director of cultural services for City Parks, gained board approval for a methodology that will use traditional “text panels” at key locations but mix in elements of emerging technologies. The latter includes podcasts (in which people with headphones could listen to narratives about where they are) and cell phones (which could be used to dial in information about a specific site). Printed material will also be made available for those who want even more info, City Parks “Interpretive Plan” document states.
       Decisions about how to provide interpretation for the open space's 788.1 acres of natural wonders have been worked out over the past year by staff and the Friends of Red Rock Canyon, incorporating citizen input that was sought during a lecture series last summer, Mayberry told the City Council-appointed board.
       The panels will be of two different types, titled Levels A and B. The Level A type (also called kiosks) would be at the three trailheads - High Street (off Highway 24), 31st Street and (yet to be developed) 26th Street. Set on steel sheets behind stone slabs, each of these would provide a park map, regulations and safety information. Highway 24 would have the largest trailhead display (six panels) and include information about Red Rock's history, its features and how it became a city open space.
       Level B signs would be smaller, located at park features or along trails in the park interior, providing specific details about those spots. Sample sites for Level B signs are the old sandstone quarry and the open-air pavilion that's to be built this year on the old Bock home site, Mayberry said.
       He does not yet have a schedule for installation, noting that a tight budget is a concern, but said he would like some of the signage to go in this year.
       Overall interpretive topics will take in such subjects as geology, paleontology, ancient water and plants, wildlife, area history and issues involved in preserving and protecting the open space, according to the master plan.
       While the public has indicated a desire for “more, more, more” information about Red Rock Canyon, Mayberry said there is also a concern about overdoing it. The first “interpretive goal” in the master plan is that “interpretive information and methods will balance the sometimes competing need for education and preservation, and will seek to impart a greater understanding and respect for the resource.”

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