MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Manitou Springs City Council voted in favor of establishing a reservation system with possible fees for the Manitou Incline, one of the most popular trails in southern Colorado, and the ascent is likely going to be closed well into the summer.
According to a news release from the city of Manitou Springs, the council says using a reservation system and related fee for the Incline will meter the number of users to help maintain social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The council voted in favor of exploring how the system will be implemented during a meeting Tuesday night.
"The Incline is an attraction, not just a trail, and it would be irresponsible to open it with no precautions taken, as it would put our visitors, residents, and first responders in a dangerous situation," city public information officer Alex Trefry said.
The exact guidelines haven't been established yet, and Manitou Springs is working with the city of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Forest Service to finalize the plan. We asked how long that might take to reopen the Incline; Trefry said there isn't an exact timeline because there are three entities involved. Trefry initially said the city is aiming for six to eight weeks to have it done, but later clarified that Manitou Springs wants to reopen the Incline as soon as possible.
Trefry added that the council is thinking of different ways to make it easier for locals to access the Incline, but that ultimately, "what's important is the safety of everyone."
"The city website will soon have a place on the front page for people to give feedback and concerns on the Incline proposal, and we're taking them very seriously," Trefry said.
The Incline was free to hikers before the closure due to the coronavirus, and free parking spots were also available in town. The shuttle that carried hikers to the base of the I clone cost Manitou Springs over $350,000, and the usage fee is said to pay for the "longevity and successful operation of the Incline," according to the city.
Many hikers aren't happy with the proposal, saying that they believe the trail should remain free to access. The fee could be as low as $5 or $10, but the city is also looking at paid parking for Incline access.
We'll have more on this story tonight on KRDO NewsChannel 13.