The U.S. Forest Service on Monday announced the first trail closures associated with a construction project in the the Bear Creek watershed that is designed to protect an endangered trout from recreationalists.
According to a news release from the Pikes Peak Ranger District, Trail 668 and Trail 720 will be temporarily barred in the coming weeks, with the popular Seven Bridges Trail slated to close Sept. 5 through Sept. 16.
The release states that there could be additional closures as crews work to clear a path for the new Trail 667 being built along Kineo Mountain farther south of the trail's current beloved run through Jones Park. The temporary closures come with the potential for large rocks rolling downhill during a process that includes rock blasting, the release indicates.
The project in the mountains southwest of Colorado Springs has been four years in the making, going back to when research by the University of Colorado determined Bear Creek to be home to the only known habitat of genetically pure greenback cutthroat trout. Not long after that, the Forest Service announced its intent to reroute trails around the fish's home due to concerns of hikers and bikers spreading harmful sediment into the creek. Ever since, the Forest Service has held roundtable meetings to discuss trail reroutes with concerned stakeholders, including trail advocates and mountain bikers who regard Trail 667, also known as upper Cap'n Jacks, as one of the region's best rides. That trail will be decommissioned by the end of the project, and the plan is for more than 15 miles of trail and 3 miles of road to be realigned.
Construction will last through the fall, with crews expected to return next year.
Contact Seth Boster: 636-0332