OSAC rejected the request to built a trail to the top of Sheep Mountain at a meeting on January 25th. . Their orientation and decision does not aligned with the Post Master Plan. I appeal to you the citizens and to City Council to support building the trail. I present to you the proposal, so you can decide what is best for Manitou Springs and its Open Space recreation. If you would like to know more, you can go to www.ManitouCATS.com to see the draft concept of the Sheep Mountain Trail route.
Sheep Mountain Trail Proposal for OSAC by Manitou CATS ( January 25, 2021)
We requested a resolution to support construction of Sheep Mountain Trail in 2022.
In 2021 OSAC approve $200 seed money and we do planning, trail design, fundraising.
GOAL: Manitou Springs will be a world class destination for mountain hikers , bikers, and runners. When the Sheep Mountain Trail is completed, tourists and residents will have direct access to a Manitou Springs mountain trifecta (Red, Iron and Sheep Mountains). Manitou will grow as a focal point for outdoor recreation, considering it already has the Manitou Incline, Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak, Lake Moraine/Jones Park (25 mile mountain trail loop), Red Rock Canyon, Garden of the Gods.
WHAT: The trail will be a unique multi-use (hiker/runner/bikers) friendly sustainable trail to the top of the approximately 7,155 foot Sheep Mountain. The trail will be approximately one half mile long with an average grade of about 8.5%
. This will be the only trail to the top of a mountain made to be enjoyable to hikers and bikers. (Intemann Trail access to the trail-head on the east is very steep, unsustainable and will need a re-route if bikers are going to use it, BUT from downtown Manitou Springs the Iron Mountain Trail access to the Sheep Mountain Trail-head is good and safe for hiker/biker multi-use.)
WHY: The Sheep Mountain has perhaps the best 360 degree view of the Pikes Peak region. It is safest mountain top in Manitou (no cliffs) with room for a cairn interpretive sign and bench for visitors (if this is desired). When combined with its mountain neighbors (7,375 ft Red Mountain and 7,131 ft Iron Mountain) it will create a unique hiking experience of climbing 3 seven thousand foot peaks in one day starting in downtown Manitou.
HOW: The CATS Trail Design team and Medicine Wheel will work to design the trail route (A possible trail concept has already been designed) . We will walk the proposed route with OSAC, get their input, and find agreement. The trail is likely to be about 0.5 miles long. The trail should be built by machine so that it is strong and sustainable . The approximate cost will be $16,000 . A coalition of user-groups and stakeholder will work together to provide volunteer labor and solicit funds to keep the cost to the City (OSAC) as low as possible. Manitou Trail CATS will commit to raising $5,000 for the project.
WHEN: The Manitou Sheep Mountain Trail project funding, final designing and logistical planning will take a year. First OSAC will need decide to build the trail in 2022. Then fundraising, grant writing, planning, permits and permissions will begin. Stakeholders and user groups should be brought on board and consulted as we are doing the planning in 2021.
WHY NOW: The POST Master Plan does have higher priority goals and programs ( Creek Walk Trail, a northern trail through Black Canyon, re-routing around the steps and un-sustainable part of the Intemann Trail near Crystal Park Road), but they will take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to manifest. The Sheep Mountain Trail is a Post Master Plan goal, which can be accomplished inexpensively and soon. Another reason to start the planning now is there is enthusiasm within the community and volunteers. Let’s harness their willingness to donate time, money and expertise for the betterment of Manitou Springs and build this POST Master Plan approved trail.
I do not think that OSAC’s deny decision is following the POST Master Plan, which calls for a multi-use Sheep Mountain Trail. Here are some of the exact quotes from OSAC Board members at the Jan 25th meeting:..
- “ Multi-use trail” is just going to be a synonym for “mountain bike trail” …..”
- “ I’m concerned that it (a new trail) will draw a lot of people”
- “ I don’t want the trail built at all.”
- “Sheep Mountain isn’t inspiring, I only go up there to bushwhack sometimes”
If you would like to see the Sheep Mountain Trail built in the foreseeable future (or you actively don’t want the trail) please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org and OSAC at email@example.com .