The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Pike National Forest – Pikes Peak Ranger District has opened over 40 percent of the Waldo Canyon Burn Area to visitors. However, the Waldo Closure Order was recently extended until further notice. Forest managers have determined that additional time is needed before more acres can safely open to the public.
In addition, the Waldo Canyon Trail along Highway 24 will remain closed. “Work continues on the trail this summer with the intention of opening it in the near future,” said Pikes Peak District Ranger Al Hahn. The USFS, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation all agree that significant public safety concerns must keep the trail closed at this time.
A very popular open area includes the Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area trail, campgrounds, picnic sites and Forest Roads 307, 311 and 313 (also known as the Schubarth Road). Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the thousands of available acres across the Pike and San Isabel National Forests.
“Since the Waldo Canyon fire, we have accomplished a considerable about of work at the recreation sites and the trail around the Reservoir. The extended Closure allows new vegetation to grow without being trampled. Addition projects will take place throughout the year.
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.” Violators are subject to a maximum fine of $5,000.
“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 past heavy visitor use. “We understand the disappointment and frustration of the extended closures,” said Hahn.
The Waldo Canyon Fire Closure Special Order and map are located on the web at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/psicc/alerts-notices/?aid=14836. For further information please contact the Pikes Peak Ranger District at 719-636-1602.