The Pikes Peak Ranger District on the Pike National Forest expects to open over 40% of the Waldo Canyon Burn Area to visitors Friday, May 24, 2013. The opening will include the Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area trail, campgrounds, picnic sites and National Forest System Roads 307, 311 and 313 (also known as the Schubarth Road).
According to District Ranger Alan Hahn, “Since the Waldo Canyon fire, we have accomplished a considerable about of work at the recreation sites and the trail around the Reservoir. Our goal is to provide a safe environment for forest visitors.” Next spring forest managers will re-evaluate and determine if additional acres can be open to the public.
The remainder of the Waldo Canyon Burn Area will be closed until further notice. The Waldo Canyon Trail #640 is not open because the steep valleys pose public danger during a major rain event which could trap visitors in low lying areas. Hazards exist such as falling rocks and dead trees, unstable ground and hidden stump holes. In several areas, it is almost impossible to climb to higher ground given the extremely steep terrain. The Closure also allows new vegetation to grow without being trampled. Addition re-vegetation projects will take place throughout the year.
Small water craft with electric motors can be launched from the shore at Rampart Reservoir. Visitors are cautioned that the water level at the Reservoir is expected to be low and the boat launch and ramp will be closed. No boats or motor vehicles will be allowed to cross the dam. Nichols Reservoir, south of the dam, is empty and is included in the new Closure Order. Stanley Canyon Reservoir is also empty.
“Please be patient and understand that this landscape has been dramatically altered. Our concern for your safety is paramount” said Hahn.
Public safety is a challenge because of the Burn Area’s proximity to the City of Colorado Springs and heavy visitor use in the past. According to Law Enforcement Officer Tom Healy, “The Closure Order is in place for personal safety and to protect the landscape by allowing it to heal.” Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the open areas. Violators are subject to a maximum fine of $5,000.
The revised Waldo Canyon Fire Closure Special Order and map will be located here. For further information please contact the Pikes Peak Ranger District at 719-636-1602.