Greenback cutthroat trout (Credit: nas.er.usgs.gov)
An agreement has been reached that will impact some recreational use on several popular trails in west Colorado Springs.
The Pike and San Isabel National Forest and the Center for Biological Diversity signed an agreement Wednesday that will prohibit motorcycle and off-road vehicle use on several trails above Cheyenne Canon and off High Drive. This includes the heavily traveled Captain Jack's trail system and the Pipeline Trail, which runs through Jones Park.
The ban has been put in place to ensure survival of the rare greenback cutthroat trout, which resides in Bear Creek. Earlier in the year, researchers discovered that the 750 living in the creek are the only pure and wild population of the fish left anywhere. Erosion caused by vehicles using the trail system around Bear Creek have harmed the water quality by sending runoff into the stream, filling deep pools that the fish use to hide from predators and survive harsh winter or drought conditions, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Based on the terms of the agreement, trails 665, 667, 668, 701 and 720 will be closed to vehicles until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines that motorized vehicle use poses no further threat to the cutthroat trout.
This agreement does not impact hikers, equestrians or mountain bikers, a fact which has been met by strong opposition in some circles. The Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance, an all-volunteer group of motorcyclists with a mission to preserve single-track trails throughout the state for motorized vehicles, say motorcyclists and off-road vehicles have been unfairly targeted by this ban.
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