Red Rock to open Oct. 29

       At dawn Friday, Oct. 29, according to just-announced plans by Colorado Springs Parks, a currently locked gate will swing open, allowing public access to Red Rock Canyon Open Space for the first time.
       “It's certainly going to please a lot of people who've been wanting to get in there and use it,” Terry Putman, City Parks development manager, told the Westside Pioneer this week.
       Hours will be dawn to dusk.
       He said the only access initially will be at High Street/Ridge Road off Highway 24, where grading has just been completed for a temporary parking lot for 20 to 30 vehicles. Usage will be limited to the lower portions of the 788.1-acre property - where rock-climbing routes in the area of the old sandstone quarry and some multi-use trails connecting three canyons have been created.
       Among the areas off-limits for now is the former landfill in one of the property's upper canyons, which health officials have deemed unsafe for public use for the next 17 years.
       The open space, purchased last December by the city's Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program, is located just west of Colorado Springs, between the old Midland area and the Crystal Hills neighborhood in Manitou Springs. To the south, it abuts Section 16, which is leased as park space by El Paso County and in turn borders Pike National Forest.
       The opening has been on hold while climbing routes and trails have been developed this fall. Other chores accomplished by TOPS/City Parks since last December have included relocating former tenants, conducting a public master-planning process, demolishing or fixing various buildings, organizing volunteer trail construction workdays and hiring a full-time park ranger.
       Interviews for the ranger were continuing this week, with a hiring planned sometime before Oct. 29, Putman said.
       Also scheduled for readiness by opening day is guide information explaining the rock-climbing rules.
       An official opening, with a dedication ceremony, is anticipated sometime next summer, Putman said. There is no timetable as yet for other master-planned features at the park, including a dog run, a “free ride” (thrill-seekers) bicycling area, full development of the High Street trailhead, the addition of two other trailheads and the remainder of a 17-mile trail system.

Westside Pioneer article