Barr Trail & Manitou Incline

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The Broadmoor will trade to the City of Colorado Springs approximately 155 acres of property located at the top of Ruxton Canyon in Manitou Springs.  This property includes segments of the Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline.  What will be achieved?

  • Secure public access and public ownership of the Barr Trail.  The Barr Trail currently traverses private property at this location.  El Paso County held an agreement with the Broadmoor that permitted public access for the Barr Trail.  This agreement expired in 2012 – jeopardizing the future of this extremely popular trail.  Public ownership of this property will secure public access to this segment of the Barr Trail.  The City will receive a permanent easement to include a short section of Barr Trail at a switch back as well as the marathon route at the terminus of Ruxton Ave. The City’s ownership of the property would place all of the Barr Trail in public ownership.

  • Ensure public ownership of the Manitou Incline.  The Manitou Incline currently traverses private property at this location.  The City of Colorado Springs currently holds an agreement with the Broadmoor that permits public access for the Manitou Incline; however, public ownership of the Incline would secure its future and result in management and operational efficiencies.  The City’s ownership of this property would place all of the Manitou Incline in public ownership.

  • Provide for future North Access Trail to the Incline.  The Management Plan for the Manitou Incline identifies the need for an additional access trail on the north side of the Incline to alleviate heavy trail use on Barr Trail.  Acquisition of this property would provide a publically owned corridor of land for this important future trail connection.

  • Protect open space and the mountain backdrop.  In accordance with community open space plans, the City of Colorado Springs and the City of Manitou Springs seek to protect important natural resource areas and preserve views of the foothills.  Acquisition of this property would preserve and protect these resources for future generations.

The City of Colorado Springs will trade to the Broadmoor approximately 0.55 acres property located adjacent to the Manitou Hydro Electric Facility in the vicinity of the Cog Railway.  What will be achieved?

  • Secure parking for the Cog Railway.  The Cog Railway currently uses this small gravel lot for parking via a revocable license agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities.  The Broadmoor’s ownership of the property will secure parking for the Cog Railway into the future.

  • Retain public utility access.  The City of Colorado Springs will retain a permanent utility easement on the property for utility maintenance and operations.



Barr Trail & Manitou Incline FAQs

Q: Does a public trail easement exist for Barr Trail?

A: No. El Paso County had an access agreement with the Broadmoor that allowed public access to the Barr Trail.  The County’s agreement expired in 2012.  Currently there is no legal provision for public access for the portion of the Barr Trail that traverses the Broadmoor Property.

Q: Who will maintain the Barr Trail? 

A: The Barr Trail is currently maintained primarily through volunteer efforts including Friends of the Peak and Rocky Mountain Field Institute.  The City would be responsible for maintaining the Barr Trail and would seek to work with volunteers and Friends Groups to maintain the trail.

Q: Is the Broadmoor working with the U.S. Forest Service on an easement for Barr Trail?

A: Yes, a separate proposal that began approximately three years ago as part of a land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service is currently being considered by Congress and may provide for a future easement of Barr Trail on the Broadmoor Property.

Q: Will a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process still be required for the Northern Trail?

A: Yes, a NEPA process will be required for the North Trail because the upper portion of the Incline is still owned by the U.S. Forest Service.

Q: Who owns and operates the Incline?

A: The Incline is currently owned by three entities: The City of Colorado Springs, The Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway Company and the U.S. Forest Services. The City of Colorado Springs holds agreements with the two other land owners for public access and is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Incline.

Q: Why is the City of Colorado Springs involved with the Incline?

A: Through efforts by the Colorado Springs City Council, in 2009, the property owners and Cities to come together to figure out how to address the raising concerns, issues and increased use of the Incline.  After several failed attempts by various organizations, Colorado Springs was able to bring the property owners and Cities to the table to identify what each property owner/City would need to legalize the Incline, but more importantly what could each entity bring to the table to assist with the project.  The City of Colorado Springs’s involvement in the process was key.  Without the City stepping up and taking on the liability and the management of the Incline, it would still be illegal.  The City of Manitou Springs does not have enough money to repair, maintain, nor assume the liability for the Incline. 

Q: What is the economic benefit for Colorado Springs to have a vested interest in the Incline?

A: Although the Incline is not within the limits of Colorado Springs, there is a significant impact on our community.  During the weekend of August 8-10, 2013, Incline users were asked to sign (providing their zip code and name) a petition supporting a grant request.  In the course of one weekend we had tourists from 45 States and two International counties spending money in our communities.  Multiply that over the course of a year and the economic benefit from the Incline is significant to both Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.  The main user of the Incline is Colorado Springs citizens.  They live, work and play in Colorado Springs, but love the Incline.  It is because of these reasons Colorado Springs City Council saw the economic benefits of the Incline and realized even though the trail is not in our physical City boundaries, it is within our backyard and the citizens of Colorado Springs benefit immensely from our participation.

Q: Will the land exchange provide the opportunity for additional “bail-out” locations?

A: Yes, this would allow for additional locations for bail out locations, which have yet been determined