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No Dogs, Other New Rules At Manitou Incline

By Lindsay Watts
Published On: May 11 2012 10:07:38 AM CDT
Updated On: May 11 2012 11:47:42 AM CDT
MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. -

Some changes are coming to one of Southern Colorado's most popular hiking trail.

Signs with new rules will go up Saturday at the Manitou Incline and some trails will close.

The rules say hikers will no longer be allowed to take dogs on the Incline, that hikers must go down Barr Trail instead of back down the Incline, and that the Incline will only be open between dawn and dusk.

"Everything we're asking people to abide by, the underlying premise is safety," said Sarah Bryarly, landscape architect for Colorado Springs.

The new rules are part of the process of making the Incline legal. Currently, it's still trespassing to use the trail. It's expected to be legal by the end of the year.

"It's become so popular that we have to have some guidelines," said Sandy Yukman, with the group Incline Friends. "We're really doing what we think is best for the trail to make it sustainable."

Those involved with legalization efforts said dogs off their leashes can be dangerous, and long leashes can get wrapped around parts of the trail and become a hazard.

"We also have a huge issue with (dog) waste," said Bryarly.

Planners said running down the Incline can be dangerous, and the same for doing the Incline in the dark.

"If you trip over a hazard, a first responder can trip over a hazard," said Bryarly.

She said there's also an issue with traffic noise for those who live on Ruxton Avenue when people are coming to do the Incline at all hours.

Crews will meet Saturday morning to put up the new signs and also to close some trails that lead from the Barr Trail parking lot to the Incline. A new path will be constructed that leads from the parking lot to the very bottom of the Incline trail.

Some hikers weren't happy to hear about the changes.

"That kills a lot of what I do," said Chris McGuy, who used a trail that will be done away with. "Because I usually come up at night, and (going) up and down (the Incline) makes it easier. It's kind of a shame, actually."

But others said the new rules will be beneficial.

"I like them," said hiker Lawrence Evans. "I think coming down the Incline is dangerous for people who are going up it. Same thing for dogs. I think if you can't pick up after your dogs, you shouldn't bring them here."

There will be no one policing the Incline, the hope being hikers will respect the rules and hold each other accountable.

"Right now, we're really relying on peer pressure to help enforce the rules," said Bryarly.

One thing that won't be changing is that people will not have to pay to use the Incline, an idea tossed around during planning meetings.

"We're going to put in a donation tube that will be at the very bottom of the Incline," said Yukman. "That's going to allow users to help us maintain it by just dropping a dollar in. That's how we're going to avoid having a fee for use.

Crews will meet at Manitou High School on Saturday at 7 a.m. and go on to the Incline. They're looking for any volunteers who want to help with the work. Those who want to volunteer can show up at 7 a.m.. Check here to see if the work will be postponed due to rain.

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