Trail groups seek help for ‘undo’ workday April 24 in Section 16

       In response to a request from the El Paso County and Colorado Springs parks departments, the Intemann Trail Committee (ITC) and the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) will lead a trail-repair workday in an effort to obliterate a series of “outlaw trails” in Section 16 Saturday, April 24.
       Volunteers are asked to meet at Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave., at 10 a.m. People will then carpool to the site. The work will involve using hand tools to obliterate trail, reseeding exposed soil and positioning brush to make the evidence less visible.
       The roughly two miles of trail were not only unauthorized by local parks officials, but are con sidered unsafe because they follow drainage beds and go over risky terrain in places. County security officials are taking steps to identify and stop the builder, who reportedly would be guilty of a felony based on the amount of damage he's done in Section 16 (under county jurisdiction) and Red Rock Canyon Open Space (city).
       In mid-March, County Parks Planner Rich Havel had found the unknown individual in the act of building his trails. The person said at the time he was working alone and would stop doing it. However, the work appears to have continued, Havel said.
       County Parks has now erected a sign at the Section 16 Trailhead (on Lower Gold Camp Road) stating:
        “Illegal trail cutting has occurred in this area. We are trying to reclaim the area to prevent erosion and protect the resources. Please help us by staying on the designated trails. If you observe any of this activity, please report it to El Paso County Parks, 520-6375, or El Paso County Security, 520-1800.”
       The illegal trails take off from the Intemann Trail in three known places in Section 16.
        The April 24 date had originally been set at a later time for the ITC's annual inventory hike of maintenance needs on the Intemann Trail, but the committee agreed to change the time and focus of the day after a meeting with county and city parks officials last week.
       At the meeting, City Parks Trails Coordinator Chris Lieber commented that the outlaw trails have “created potentially long-term erosion problems” that may require water diversions in one or more drainages.
        For more information, call 473-4143.

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