No to buses in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. No to paving paradise for parking lots.
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On January 25th, 2018, the Parks Department controlled by Mayor John Suthers presented 4 alternatives for busing and parking lots in historic North Cheyenne Cañon Park including moving the creek which we believe is illegal (presumably so the Broadmoor can have a parking area for 7 Falls in one corner of the area?) as well as just giving the Broadmoor Mesa Avenue between 7 Falls and Evans for their buses and creating a turn around off that road into the current center island shutting down the South Cheyenne Cañon loop to only Broadmoor buses. Options also call for tearing down the pavilion above Starsmore used for weddings and family events and turning that into a bus unloading and loading zone as well as reducing the pull offs for trailheads from 42 to 12 and requiring riding buses to access park or possibly purchase paid parking passes as well as paving Gold Camp road. Wait, we thought the parks department was broke and could not afford to deal with a non-existent trash problem in Strawberry Fields? The choices were dizzying, at best.
Most importantly, there was the fundamental flaw in this process. They start with the premise that the park is increasing at 8% per year which they said they got from sign in sheets. The reality is that the visitor counting done at, for example, Helen Hunt Falls is done with clickers. One volunteer inside the visitor center and one volunteer outside the center clicks people, to the best of their ability, as they walk by. No one is asked how they arrived (i.e. by foot, bike or car). And, for sure, there are errors and flaws in that system. So, at the very least, legitimate traffic studies conducted throughout the year should be completed to determine what the traffic actually is which is, other than major holiday weekends, usually not an issue.
Regarding parking, there are options beyond overcrowding buses which pollute the environment and pose dangers to bikers, hikers and wildlife, which include accessing existing parking areas with no additional expenses nor the need to destroying parkland. Most importantly, full parking lots mean full trails. The premise that we should seek to continually meet whatever increases in visitors which, again, needs to be better quantified, is false and poor stewardship of our public lands. We should not seek to further trample our already crowded trails and risk the lives of wildlife and hikers/bikers by implementing a bus system. Perhaps endow rangers with the authority to issue parking tickets to curb illegal parking on those peak holidays where the park gets busy. Otherwise, leave it alone.
Every proposal included shuttle buses. These buses will cost money to operate. Therefore, where we are headed is paid bus rides to access trails in North Cheyenne Cañon and, it appears, just giving the Broadmoor a road. This creates a toll, a barrier, to accessing our most precious public lands and also will pose hazards for the wildlife and environment. Please join us in telling Mayor Suthers and City Council that this is not acceptable. No to buses in North Cheyenne Cañon and no to paving paradise to put up parking lots. No to excluding a low socio-economic class of the public from recreating and enjoying THEIR public lands due to tolls. Protect our public lands from commercialization and being turned into theme parks. Keep NCC natural and freely accessible to all.
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