Sparks Still Ignite Over WP Development Group – Bob Volpe

Cripple Creek Officials Want to Dim Casino Lights – Rick Langenberg

TMJ week of 7.26.16

Cripple Creek and Teller County Braces for Hells Angels Rally Rick Langenberg

Cripple Creek and Teller County Braces for Hells Angels Rally Rick Langenberg

Front Page

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor: Editor’s Note. The following is in response to a previous letter, penned by Ron Patterson of Florissant, which appeared in the July 12 issue of TMJ. Correcting the record I just read Mr. Patterson’s response to my calling Mad Dog for what he is. It seems Mr. Patterson is not well informed. First,…

Sparks Still Ignite Over WP Development Group – Bob Volpe

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The financial future of the Woodland Park Downtown Development Authority, and its plans to repay a $1 million loan to the city, generated a lively debate during last week’s council meeting. At the same time, both representatives from the DDA and the city appeared ready to craft a mini-peace treaty. During a recent meeting, the…

Almanac Week of 7.26.16

Tuesday, July 26 The Green Mountain Falls Planning Commission will meet on July 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the GMF Town Hall. Wednesday, July 27 Ute Trail Stampede. The 60th Ute Trail Stampede Rodeo will kick off July 27 and continue through July 30. It will feature a wide range of events at a variety…

Pointing Out Stupid – Murph Unleashed – by Eli Stone

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“You can’t fix stupid, you can only point it out.” Unknown As we move into the final throws of summer, I find myself asking just how stupid can folks act?I think people are looking at that question as a challenge. I see the growing insurgency that the Islamic world is brining in, the elections, the…

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Divide Recreational Jewel Reopened – Rick Langenberg

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One of Teller’s most popular hiking and camping spots is back in action, but with more defined restrictions, including a ban against free camping.

The Pikes Peak Ranger District of the Pike-San Isabel National Forest has reopened the Crags area, including the Crags Campground and Forest Road 383. In late May, the area, located near Divide and regarded as one of the prime recreational spots for residents and visitors, was completely shut down to allow fire crews to remove a large number of trees that posed a safety hazard to hikers and campers.

The closure action was taken when the U.S. Forest Service reportedly discovered hazardous trees in areas frequently used by visitors for camping. According to officials, a spruce beetle infestation left many of the shallow rooted spruce trees standing dead, along Forest Road 383. This closure prohibited all public entry into the area, including camping, day use, hiking and access to the Crags and Devil’s Playground trails, which lead to the summit of Pikes Peak.

This closure could be part of a continual trend. Forest Service officials have concluded that hazard tree removal and associated road closures along Forest Service Road 383 are expected over the next few years. Initially, crews will work to improve safety near the campground and trailheads, but will continue working along the roadway later this fall and in future years.

And even with the reopening of this popular area, more restrictions at the Crags still apply. In fact, the Pikes Peak Ranger District has issued an official order that prohibits free camping, campfires and parking along Forest Service Road 383.Plus, the following restrictions have been put into place:

*Camping is allowed only in the developed Crags Campground. There are 17 campsites available on a first come first serve basis for a fee of $16 per night.

*Dispersed (free) camping, campfires and parking are prohibited along either side of Forest Road 383, as a large number of hazard trees still exist.

*Parking is allowed only at designated sites at the Ring the Peak Trailheads, Crags Trailhead, and within the campground.

Other changes in the drainage include the access to Raspberry Mountain, due to private property and concerns with lack of parking at the unofficial trailhead. Instead of parking at the hairpin corner before the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, those wanting to hike to Raspberry Mountain will need to drive 1.4 miles further up Forest Road 383 and park at the Ring the Peak Trailhead, and will then use the Ring the Peak Trail to access Raspberry Mountain.

Visitors are urged to take extra precautions when recreating in the area this summer due to the large number of hazard trees.

Hazard tree removal and associated road and area closures will continue along FS Road 383 after Labor Day, 2016.

Still, even with the additional restrictions, the reopening of the Crags is expected to be greeted with much enthusiasm by tourist and civic leaders. Despite the difficulty in accessing this area off Hwy. 67 South, the Crags is still regarded as a local outdoor mecca, offering some of the most panoramic views of surrounding peaks and reservoirs. It also is regarded as the best area from which to attempt a back route ascent up Pikes Peak, via the Devil’s Playground Trail. In addition, it reigns as a popular spot for camping and viewing the rocky outcropping of “The Crags,” and is a favorite area for cross-country skiers and for snowshoeing. Rumors have frequently abounded regarding the possibility of opening a mini-ski mountain area near the Crags, but access restrictions and financial obstacles have squashed these attempts.

And due to its popularity, the Crags is one of the prime spots for search and rescue missions by local emergency responders as many first-time hikers often misjudge the Teller high country altitude conditions. Plus, some reports have circulated that the area was getting frequented more by transient homeless individuals and campers.

Nevertheless, when locals are asked by visitors about prime recreational spots in the region, the Crags tops the outdoor “Best Of” list.