There will no doubt be a lot of people that I piss off, alienate and who may never speak to me again after this posting but so be it. The government might be shutting down but the 1st Amendment is still on the books.
The Incline... it's a mess, a nuisance, a safety hazard and for the most part a blight on the face of Mt. Manitou. Years ago it was used by serious athletes at a training too but anymore it is just another social scene like the dog park or such. It is overcrowded, there are serious erosion issues around it and let's not forget the ever present scent of dog poo the entire length.
I admit, I used to LOVE the incline. Best workout ever. Leave work, head to Manitou and be up and back down the trail in a smidge over an hour... To me it was also a great indicator of what my PPA time could or would be that year if I were running the Ascent. If there was ever a problem with parking at the Barr Trail Trail-head, it was due to people who were parked there and legitimately using BARR TRAIL!
My disenchantment with the incline began maybe four or five years ago. It just started to seem more and more crowded all the time. Maybe it was the time I saw the Darwin Award Candidate with the baby on his shoulders (on his shoulders, NOT in a carrier) going up that I realized that there was an issue with the damn thing maybe becoming 1. To popular and 2. To freaking accessible to the public as a whole.
Maybe it was the time that I was waiting for the guy ahead of me to pull out so that I could park and the lady behind me adamantly refused to allow me to back up to allow him out so that she could take that parking place. I was forced to drive around him so he could pull out then Ms. Wonderful took the spot.
So, hey... it's not crowded all the time so I started going early. And I mean early. So early in fact that light would just be peeking across the plains as I would summit. Actual sunrise would occur when I was closer to the bottom. That was in the summer months. In the winter, the entire trip could happen in the dark, regardless if it were morning or evening. That worked for a bit, well, until others caught on. I used to even ride my bike there as to not have to sweat parking. 45 minutes there, 25 minutes home.
I can go on and on... parking sucks, too much dog poo... dogs off of leashes, people just generally get in WAY over their heads. Last Sunday I was running up Ruxton and I could visibly see the conga line of people the entire way up. Crazy.
So... My plan... really to be honest the only smart player in this entire incline fiasco has been the Iron Springs Chateau for finally charging people to use their parking lot. They are making some money and I applaud them for that.
I think the COG really screwed the pooch on this one by not capitalizing on it sooner. Seriously... they should have installed a ten foot chain link fence along both sides of the incline on their property, with concertina wire on top, a turnstile and an attendent at the bottom taking $ from everyone wanting to go up and have a one way turnstile exiting as the incline leave's their property. It wouldn't have been illegal as far as I can tell either. Too late now...
An extension of said fence and toll taking to the summit would be awesome in my book. It would pay for itself. Offer memberships, punch passes, etc... Charge a few bucks a head. Have only a couple of official egress points along the route up. 5$ a pop... lots of money, really quickly. That's how you manage it. Of course, this will never, ever, ever fly...
So my solution... and this is radical... pull the damned thing out, railroad tie by freaking railroad tie and reforest the scar. Parking will not be such an issue for the Barr Trail Trailhead anymore or on Ruxton for that matter which I bet would be a huge relief to the residents. Nobody will have to monitor the incline as it wouldn't exist. That visible line will no longer be an eyesore visible from miles around. Pull it out. Restore the vegetation and repair the social trails that resulted from people shortcutting down the mountain.
It's an unmanageable resource at this time. Period. Its overuse can not be undone and with the current plans... usage will not abate and will only get worse over time. How could it not?
The issue isn't so much the incline... Like I said, I loved it. The incline and the current situation facing it is only a symptom of a much bigger issue that we will all have to come to grips with sooner or later on this planet and that is straight up competition for resources due to overpopulation. I'm amazed at where I find cigarette butts anymore in the woods... amazed...
Anyway... before I get off into other subjects, there it is... my plan... capitalize the hell out of it and make some damned money or pull the damned thing out and restore the strip to it's natural state... there ya go.
Have a good weekend!