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City Council approves plan to reopen Manitou Incline with reservation system

manitou incline 2
The Manitou Incline in 2019

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Manitou Springs City Council has approved a plan that will reopen one of Colorado's most popular trails, the Manitou Incline.

It was passed with a five-to-two margin. On Wednesday, Colorado Springs signed off on the plan and said the Incline will reopen at 6 a.m. Thursday. Reservations can be made at this link here.

Some city council members did express their concerns for the reopening. Council member Julie Wolfe saying that the reservation system should not apply to Manitou Springs residents. She also said an attendant should be at the incline while it is open and be able to call Manitou Springs Police instead of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office as it is said in the memorandum.

"I think the attendant also needs to be provided a cell phone so they can contact Manitou police if they have difficulties with people heading up the incline without the requisite reservation," Wolfe says.

The Incline has been closed since mid March due to COVID-19 concerns. Since then, plans to reopen the 2,744-stair trail took months as officials from Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs worked out disputes over parking and road usage to get to the Incline.

But an agreement has been reached with a new reservation system to limit traffic on the actual trail.

Under the system, reservations would be limited to 45 people per 30-minute window. The first two weeks of operation will be limited to 35 people for a 30-minute window.

Also, the incline would limit reservation hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m, and reservations could be made up to seven days in advance.

Anyone who uses the incline would need a reservation. Hikers also need to provide proof that they parked at Hiawatha Gardens or the Iron Springs Chateau, unless they arrive on foot or by bicycle.

Manitou Incline users would also need to wear a wristband through the hike.

Anyone who uses the Manitou Incline without a valid reservation and during closed hours, they may be issued a trespass citation.

Reservation of groups larger than four people would need to be coordinated directly with Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.

Reservations under this system are free, but the city said it was previously looking into a reservation system that could charge hikers a minimum of $5 to access the old Manitou Cog Railway ties up Mt. Manitou.

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