Red Rock Canyon 10-year event looks back as well as ahead

       An estimated 150 people attended at least part of the sunny, six-hour “10th Anniversary of Red Rock Canyon Open Space” Aug. 17.
       The free event featured numerous speakers (including Mayor Steve Bach), educational booths, live music, climbing demonstrations and a blessing, drumming and dancing by groups with the American Indian support organization, One Nation Walking Together.

American Indian dancers and drummers from One Nation Walking Together perform during the event Aug. 17 celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the city's purchase of Red Rock Canyon Open Space. The fire truck was on hand for educational purposes.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Some speakers talked about the citizen effort that had resulted in the city buying the scenic 790-acre property south of Highway 24 in 2003, using open-space tax funds.
       But ownership was just a start. When the city bought the site, 38 residents still lived there, Chris Lieber of City Parks recalled, “The first day after we became landlords, a tenant called and said, 'My sewer backed up. City, what are you going to do about it?' ”
       Follow-up efforts by city and volunteers have included master-planning the property, building trails, fixing safety problems, creating the Bock Pavilion, adding a bicycle area and providing ongoing maintenance.
       One speaker, District 18 State Rep. Pete Lee, said he wanted to say thank you for the park “on behalf of the unborn grandchildren from my as-yet unmarried children.”
       Kent Obee, a City Parks volunteer who has been involved with the project for many years (and whose wife Ruth wrote a book about Red Rock titled “History in Stone”) said he has not lost his enthusiasm. “Everytime I come up here, I pinch myself,” he said.
       The main anniversary organizer was the Friends of Red Rock Canyon, a volunteer group that does maintenance and works with the city on long-term upgrades.
       Karl Klepfer, the Friends president, gave an appeal for the group's fundraising effort to permanently fill the upper pond near the Bock Pavilion (where the festivities were held). The goal is $75,000, and more than $60,000 still needs to be raised. Checks for the cause can be sent to the Friends at P.O. Box 6754, Colorado Springs 80904-6754, or online at the website: redrockopenspace.org.

Westside Pioneer article