Tables are coming
Family Picnic Area opens this weekend at Red Rock Canyon Open Space

       The actual picnic tables are still on order, but finished portions of the new Family Picnic Area at Red Rock Canyon Open Space were slated to open to the public this weekend.
Before (above) and after shots of the Family Picnic Area
and new parking lot are shown. Both shots look south from
close to the same spot. The “before” shot was taken shortly
after construction started on the area in June. The “after” 
photo was shot this week. The area will be opened to the 
public this weekend – although some finish work is still 
needed, according to City Parks. The picnic area itself is in 
the cottonwood trees just beyond the lot. A volunteer 
project to plant grass, shrubs and trees around the lot is 
planned for October. 
Westside Pioneer photos
Before (above) and after shots of the Family Picnic Area
and new parking lot are shown. Both shots look south from
close to the same spot. The “before” shot was taken shortly
after construction started on the area in June. The “after” 
photo was shot this week. The area will be opened to the 
public this weekend - although some finish work is still 
needed, according to City Parks. The picnic area itself is in 
the cottonwood trees just beyond the lot. A volunteer 
project to plant grass, shrubs and trees around the lot is 
planned for October. 
Westside Pioneer photos

       The $481,000 project, part of the 2004 Red Rock master plan, has been under construction since mid-June. According to Chris Lieber, development manager for Colorado Springs Parks, new features include:
       A paved access road leading about a quarter-mile up into the canyon from the main parking lot off Ridge Road/High Street, south of Highway 24.
  • A 75-space gravel parking lot at the end of the access road.
  • A picnic area with about 10 tables (eventually) in an open area shaded by cottonwood trees just uphill from the lot.
  • A handicapped-accessible trail, which runs from the main lot around the west side of the picnic area lot, past a vertical red rock formation and up to the old Bock house (which is to become an interpretive pavilion). Because the access road overlays what was the Red Rock Canyon Trail - which itself was originally a Bock-built road - the new trail is now the only non-motorized path up to the picnic lot. From that point, the Red Rock Canyon Trail resumes; users can either take that trail or the new one (as yet unnamed) to get to the Bock house.
           The project scope also included extensive drainage control. Part of the work by the contractor, CMS Inc., involved relocating large piles of dirt (most of them put there by the Bock family when they owned Red Rock) from in front of the rock formation. This became fill dirt for the entry road and parking lot, Lieber explained.
           The parking lot location had been generally open before. The trees that were removed were mostly non-indigenous elms, he said.
           With the shaded cottonwoods, the picnic area “will be a very nice area,” Lieber said. “ We wanted to take advantage of the mature trees and shade.”
           The lot will help handle overflow parking for a 788.1-acre open space that has proven to be quite popular since it opened in '04. “There has been a constant parking need over the summer on the weekends,” Lieber said. “Hopefully, this will alleviate that.”
           City Parks does not believe that the picnic lot will necessarily fill up with general users - leaving long walks from the main lot for true picnickers. The thinking is that park users go in different directions, not always up into the canyon (technically called “Red Rock Canyon”) with the Bock house.
           Finishing touches at the Family Picnic Area, other than tables, will include such niceties as signs, trash cans and reseeding some of the open-dirt areas, Lieber said.
           A volunteer landscaping project to add seedling trees, shrubs and grass in the area is tentatively planned in October.

    Westside Pioneer article