Thursday, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 4073, a bill introduced in the House by Congressman Doug Lamborn to help clarify the legal status of the popular Manitou Incline hiking trail.
Senator Michael Bennet, who had introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S.2341, helped push the House-passed bill through the upper chamber. The newly-signed law allows the city of Colorado Springs (through a joint agreement with the city of Manitou Springs) to maintain the trail and do long-needed improvements.
The bill addresses a right-of-way issue with the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway Company and allows the U.S. Forest Service to accept the railway's relinquishment of their right-of-way.
“The ‘vertical mile’ is a source of great local pride for residents of Manitou and Colorado Springs. The president’s signature on this bill makes it official – we’re one step closer to allowing hikers to take advantage of this unique trail in a safe manner while not being considered trespassers,” Bennet said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Representative Lamborn and local leaders to ensure the trail is properly managed in the future.”
Lamborn also weighed in.
“The Manitou Incline trail has been a favorite of southern Coloradans for decades. Olympic athletes have even trained there. I am happy to say that outdoor enthusiasts can soon hike the incline with complete confidence that they are no longer trespassing! The Incline will soon be a public trail that will be appropriately maintained for beauty and safety.
“Much like the trail itself, passing this bill has been a steep climb at times, and I am very grateful to Senator Bennet for his work in the Senate to preserve and protect this spectacular trail. Additionally, I thank Kyle Hybl and Spencer Wren of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway Company for their leadership on this issue.”