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'No dogs allowed' and other Incline rules going into effect
WARNING: This is an EXTREME trail.
Use at your own risk.
Do not attempt this trail if you are not used to hiking at altitude or have trouble climbing a standard flight of stairs.
Consult with your doctor before adding the Incline to your exercise routine.
If you need medical attention on the Incline, it could take first responders over an hour to get to you.
Incline hours are DAWN to DUSK.
Be respectful of the neighbors who live on Ruxton Avenue. Would you like to be woken up with beeping and slamming of car doors?
If you trip in the dark, a first responder could as well.
NO DOGS ALLOWED:
We love hiking with our pets, but dogs off leash or dogs on long leashes become hazards to other hikers and to themselves.
The excessive amount of dog waste that has been left behind is becoming a health issue.
Recommended: UPHILL ONLY! Please use Barr Trail for your descent.
Please be RESPECTFUL of all hikers:
Stay on the designated trail corridor, don’t blaze your own trail to get down faster.
Slower hikers stay to the right.
Pack out your trash.
Utilize the port-a-lets before you start your hike.
These rules and regulations were vetted during the master plan process and are required by the property owners. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in permits and agreements being revoked. If you enjoy using the Incline please respect the rules and regulations, other hikers and the property owners…the Incline is on public and private land.
For more information on how you can get involved with the Incline please visit www.InclineFriends.com.
It’s still technically illegal to hike the Manitou Incline, and now that’s doubly true for your dog.
As part of a volunteer work day planned for Saturday, weather permitting, city officials will install signs of rules and regulations for the Incline.
“NO DOGS ALLOWED” may be the most controversial.
“Dogs not on leash are a hazard, as well as dogs that are on long leashes. They’re a hazard not only to themselves but other hikers, and the dog waste is getting out of control and it smells,” said Sarah Bryarly, city landscape architect for the project. “There are a lot of other trails that dogs would probably prefer to be on than the Incline.”
The former railroad line runs 2,000 feet up the side of a mountain above Manitou Springs, an intense workout that attracts hundreds of thousands of hikers a year, despite the fact that using it is trespassing.
As part of the effort to open it legally, users and local officials drafted a master plan spelling out the rules of use, and the city councils in Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs this year approved an agreement for managing the trail.
The prohibition on dogs was controversial during the planning process, with hikers split 50/50, Bryarly said.
Another rule limits use to the hours between dawn and dusk. That means the hardy hikers who get up at 4 a.m. to hike the Incline are breaking the law. That rule was included at the urging of neighbors tired of car doors, car alarms and loud conversations along Ruxton Avenue in the wee hours.
The sign also discourages downhill hiking and includes a stern warning about possible health impacts of the grueling workout. A 58-year-old woman recently died of a heart attack while hiking the Incline.
“This is all stuff that’s been in the master plan and it was vetted through the public process and it’s been approved by both councils,” she said.
She acknowledged, though, that having a rule on a master plan and having a sign in place are two different things, and dog lovers and early risers may be unhappy.
Police won’t be there writing tickets. Officials hope peer pressure from other users will be enough to enforce the rules. The agreement for opening the Incline includes language that allows the cities to investigate trail fees or even back out of the deal if problems persist after legal opening.
“We realize that a lot of people are not going to be happy with the rules, but if the Incline is really as important to them as they say it is, they’ll respect the process, they’ll respect the property owners and they’ll respect that if we start violating our agreements and permits ... (closing the trail) in theory could be the end result,” Bryarly said.
She noted that it is still illegal to hike. No opening date has been set, and a permit from the U.S. Forest Service is pending.
Other work planned for Saturday includes closing the social trail from the Barr Trail parking lot to the base of the Incline. Click here for information on volunteering. It will occur on May 19 if rained out.
Contact R. Scott Rappold:
476-1605 Twitter @scottrappold
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