Legalization doesn’t mean that a mass exodus is expected on the Incline. A soft opening is planned on Friday, February 1, at the base of the Incline at 7:00 a.m. A more formal “grand” opening is anticipated in March.
Athletes and non-athletes alike venture to this historic spot in Manitou Springs, Colorado. What attracts many people – especially trail runners and vertical junkies – to the Incline is the challenge of the workout. It offers more than 2000 feet of vertical climbing in approximately one mile. Some portions of the ascent reach grades of more than 40%. It’s a lung buster for sure.
In order to support the Incline, which has included fundraising for repairs and maintenance, a volunteer stewardship group was formed in 2012. The Incline Friends is a 501 (c ) 3 not for profit corporation with a dedicated group of board members who meet twice monthly.
According to Incline Friends member Bill Beagle, “We invite people to donate to the effort to make much-needed improvements to the Incline. Some people, understandably, were reluctant to contribute to something that wasn’t legal. So we can now begin raising funds in earnest to make those repairs.”
For those curious about repairs, Beagle says, “Without drastically altering the character of the Incline or diminishing its challenge in any way there are elements such as protruding iron rebar and jagged rusty metal pipe that need to be removed to make the environment less hazardous. Also, erosion issues need to be addressed with a sound engineering plan to create a trail with long-term stability.”
There are rules in place for hiking (or running) the Incline. “For now, we’re counting on Incline users to do the right thing and that is to abide by these rules and point them out to others who may not be fully aware of them,” said Beagle, “Use and management of the Incline is a work in progress, a work to be monitored with adjustments made where and whenever necessary.”
When Beagle discusses the “right thing,” he reiterates that Incline users should be courteous and respectful toward the people who live in Manitou and around the Incline. One of the biggest obstacles to legalization was the parking situation in Manitou Springs. With so many people flocking to this little hamlet at the base of Pikes Peak, parking places were becoming scarce and harder to come by not just for the Incline users, but also for the residents of Manitou. A fully-coordinated residential parking plan has been in the works and a complete plan, which will include metered parking, should be rolled out by Memorial Day weekend.
Story by Nancy Hobbs – Executive Director – American Trail Running Association