We know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from us, so we wanted to share an update with you regarding Waldo Canyon.
First, in September 2020, the City of Colorado Springs purchased 315 acres of land from Castle Concrete, which included the Black Canyon Quarry property identified through the Re-Imagine Waldo Canyon planning process as a potential future trailhead, access, and parking location.
Since the acquisition was finalized, the City has been working diligently with the previous owners and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DMRS) on the transfer of reclamation responsibility. The City anticipates having this process wrapped up by the end of the year, which will then open the door for reclamation planning in 2022.
Once this has been completed, the City will embark on a master planning effort for the property where the public will be invited to provide feedback to further refine the vision for the space.
The U.S. Forest Service has also been working in tandem with the City to move the process along and submitted Waldo Canyon as a priority project in 2023 under the Great American Outdoors Act. If successful, the project would receive funding to support additional planning, analysis, design, and implementation work in 2023 and beyond.
On August 19, 2021 partners including the U.S. Forest Service; Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services; Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC); and Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) conducted a site visit to the property to tour the area and to discuss various elements of the Re-Imagine Waldo Canyon Community Vision Final Report in which you all participated. The group plans on future site visits and meetings to continue conversations and keep momentum going.
One final important update is related to an upcoming ballot measure that will ask voters to approve an increase and extension of the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) sales tax. The TOPS tax of one tenth of one percent (0.10%) was established by a vote of the people in 1997 and renewed in 2003. Since the inception of the TOPS program, over 7,000 acres of open space have been acquired, 66 parks have been built or improved, and over 50 miles of trail have been constructed.
On November 2, 2021, voters will be asked to approve an increase in the TOPS tax from 0.10% to 0.20% and will also be asked to approve a 20-year extension of the tax. A successful ballot measure resulting in increased funding and capacity for the City Parks Department means projects like Waldo Canyon will happen much sooner.
Please share this email update with anyone you think may be interested in reading it. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Jennifer Peterson, Rocky Mountain Field Institute
Susan Davies, Trails and Open Space Coalition