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Colorado Springs man pushes for Pikes Peak to become a national park

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- What stands out about Jim Strub isn't that he's 92 years old; it's the bold vision he has for the future of America's Mountain.

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Strub heads a group that is preparing a proposal for the National Park Service to make Pikes Peak a national park.

He was unavailable for an on-camera interview Wednesday, but told KRDO NewsChannel 13 via phone that he's been working on the idea for the past year with a small group of people who also are interested.

KRDO

Stub has been an active participant in matters regarding Pikes Peak since the 1980s, and said that the mountain's proximity to a major city, the new visitors center at the summit, the Pikes Peak Highway and the current effort to complete a trail system around the Peak make the popular tourist attraction perfect to operate as a national park.

He also believes that under the Park Service, Pikes Peak would offer more recreational opportunities to the public than are currently allowed under the Forest Service's jurisdiction.

KRDO

Strub plans to finish his proposal and submit it to the Park Service soon; he hopes the next step will be for Congress to fund a study of the idea.

JIM STRUB

"It would take a few years for anything to happen," he said. "But it won't happen unless there's widespread support for it."

Some civic leaders declined to speak publicly on the proposal but expressed concern that the Park Service, which is already struggling with a tight budget, limited resources and growing attendance at national parks, would be unlikely to add another park to its responsibilities.

NPS

One person who did talk about the idea Wednesday was David Leinweber, owner of Angler's Covey fishing shop and a member of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance.

"We need a lot of good ideas to start thinking about how do we take care of this mountain?" he said. "Because it is a treasured resource that we have. So anything that's going to elevate or do more to enhance what we have on the mountain, I'm actually for a conversation about that."

KRDO

Leinweber said that his organization has been named a partner with the state for promoting and developing outdoor recreation.

"We have received a grant to help us look at different management strategies for the Pikes Peak area," he said. "There's a balance between conservation and recreation. We need to look beyond just Pikes Peak and consider the entire area. How do you provide access for the disabled and for people who don't have transportation? Major parks weren't designed to include any of that, but it's something we need to consider going forward."

KRDO

Some civic leaders mentioned that with the constant threat of wildfires in the Pike National Forest, Pikes Peak is better off remaining under Forest Service jurisdiction.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. National Park status would actually reduce the kinds of recreation allowed around Pikes Peak, and impact lower-income communities by creating barriers such as entrance fees.

    National Monument or National Recreation Area would be a better designation.

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