COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – The City of Colorado Springs recently acquired Fishers Canyon Open Space. Now the city is working to transform the 343-acre open space into something suitable and safe for public access.
According to the city, work and damage control for Fishers Canyon began in December. The future trail system and outdoor recreation area will connect to Cheyenne Mountain State Park.
Upon completion, the open space will be accessible to the communities of Austin Bluffs and Cheyenne Mountain.
“There is a dearth of publicly accessible lots and open spaces in the Cheyenne Mountain area,” said senior landscape architect David Deitemeyer. “So this presents an opportunity to serve not only our neighbors at Cheyenne Mountain, but our entire community with the open space. It provides residents with added value and an opportunity to experience and experience the natural resources, and really creates that sense of place in Colorado Springs that our residents really love.”
There are currently no designated hiking trails or official public access to Fishers Canyon Open Space. The area has only two steep trails with an incline of about 80 degrees between uncontrolled terrain and dense trees. Mitigation will thin out trees to minimize fire risk and create a pathway system.
“We’re creating a forest that’s more resilient to severe fires,” said Cory Ashby of the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
A master plan will be developed next year so the community can add their insight into exactly what they want from the space. This is the largest project to date to benefit from the Ballet Edition 2D, which was accepted in the November 2021 election. This gave the City of Colorado Springs funds for fire mitigation projects.
“One of the biggest things about this property that we’re excited about is the connection to the Chamberland Trail,” said Deitemeyer. “The Chamberland Trail is a 26-mile master-planned natural surface trail across the foothills of Colorado Springs. This property was key in providing this connection between the Broadmoore Bluffs neighborhood and Cheyenne Mountain State Park to northern Cheyenne Canyon Park.”
The Fishers Canyon project receives $506,000 of the $20 million total. As well as $100,000 from the Trails, Open Spaces and Parks sales tax program. Plus $30,000 from Colorado Springs Utilities.
Work began on December 6th and will last until the end of February. The city plans to open public access by early 2024.
The area is only used outdoors during the day. However, because Fishers Canyon is connected to Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which offers camping, it could potentially serve as a trail link to the state park and expand opportunities in the area.