In yet another sign of how far the Pikes Peak region has come since the Waldo Canyon Fire, some popular recreational areas off-limits since last summer have reopened to the public.
Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, runners, bikers and other outdoor-minded folks are being allowed back to Rampart Reservoir. The trail, campgrounds and picnic sites are now available for use as of Friday.
"Since the Waldo Canyon Fire, we have accomplished a considerable [amount] of work at the recreation sites and the trail around the reservoir," District Ranger Alan Hahn said in a statement from the U.S. Forest Service.
USFS says that small boats with electric motors will be permitted in the reservoir, but warn those planning to go out on the water that the water level will be low. The boat launch and ramp will be closed, so those using boats will have to launch them from the shore. Boats are prohibited from crossing the dam.
Hahn reminds the public that the landscape around the reservoir will not look exactly like it did prior to last June.
"Understand that this landscape has been dramatically altered," he said.
Schubarth Road, also known as National Forest System Roads 307, 311 and 313, is also scheduled to reopen Friday. The total area reopening amounts to 40 percent of the entire Waldo Canyon burn area.
Officials say the rest of the burn area, including the Waldo Canyon Trail, will remain closed to the public. The Waldo Canyon Trail was ravaged by the fire and has a long ways to go before it will be safe for use, though officials have not ruled out reopening it in the future. The U.S. Forest Service says there are numerous hazardous along the loop, including unstable ground, dead trees and falling rocks.
Also, by keeping it closed, officials say new vegetation will be allowed to grow without being trampled by people.