Colorado College Pikes Peak Workshop

2018-19 Call for Teams

Pikes Peak helps define the unique character and location of Colorado College; get paid to be part of celebrating and extending that legacy. Targeted research projects through the Pikes Peak Workshop aim to enhance the focus of the college, its students, faculty, courses and extra-curricular programs on the Pikes Peak region. Form a team of 2-4 students to address one of the below topics. Team members will be compensated $500 to complete their projects through a research grant from the Edmonson Foundation. It is a chance to go several steps beyond theoretical, conceptual classroom work to develop and deliver products of use to an evolving public-private management approach.

Application Forms are available for download and can be submitted starting Oct. 1, 2018, with reviews beginning Oct. 11, 2018. For more information and questions: contact Lily Weissgold or Prof. Emeritus Walt Hecox

Key topics to be explored during 2018-19 (more details below):

  • Ring the Peak Hut System: Options for Future Design/Operation
  • Bridging the Ring the Peak Gap: Creative options for a land use issue
  • Investigation of Public/Private Land Management Models: what is happening in El Paso, Teller, and Freemont counties? What can we do better?
  • History of Colorado College’s Involvement in the Pikes Peak Region: CC uses Pikes in a lot of their messaging; the relationship goes beyond that- how has the relationship evolved and developed over time?
  • Region Wide “passport” options to access public and private attractions in the Pikes Peak Region

Submit applications via email to Lily Weissgold or Prof. Emeritus Walt Hecox

Pre-Ring the Peak Trail Completion

Pikes Peak is world-famous and largely helps define the character of Colorado College! A complex mix of public and private dimensions contributes to our “recreation backyard.” Over a decade of work has gone into completing a “Ring the Peak” trail, approximately 80% is finished, with the remaining portion near Cripple Creek and Victor proving contentious and challenging. However, hikers find “informal” ways around the missing portion. How can we best codify this informal hiking? What platforms exist to shuttle people across dangerous territory in other hiking systems? How can we leverage smartphones to make this experience relatively smooth? Look at how other trail systems deal with connectivity issues, look at the current trail system on/around Pikes Peak and come up with a creative solution to the current impasse on the Ring the Peak Trail. How can your plan continue to be of use once the trail is completed?

Forest Service nationwide approaches to managing complex public/private recreation activities

The Trump Administration brings new attitudes and approaches to management of public lands. The US Forest Service is undergoing a fundamental reassessment and reorganization review. The ways the FS interacts with the lands it manages and adjacent property owners and communities will change. Within this context, the USFS Pike San Isabel National Forest is a major part of management for and around Pikes Peak. For decades the process by which the FS considers new management proposals and changing conditions is through a lengthy and laborious planning process linked to NEPA’s requirement for environmental reviews. An example is underway now: the Summit House on top of Pikes Peak is being replaced with the mountain top being brought back to more natural conditions. The City of Colorado Springs (through its entity Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, a largely self-supporting subsidiary of the City) holds a long-term lease for the Summit House property as well as the Pikes Peak Highway. With completion of the Summit House in a few years, even more visitors/hikers will seek uses/visitation. How might the public and private aspects of the Pikes Peak region’s recreation and tourism be organized in harmony with changing approaches to public lands at the federal level? A review of some ways the FS currently participates in public-private partnerships is a first step, and understanding of what is being proposed as changes at the federal level will provide potential options for FS participation. The final step is to propose several models elsewhere that can inform a possible Pikes Peak Region Public-Private Management Partnership.

History of Colorado College’s Involvement in the Pikes Peak Region

A century plus of Colorado College involvement with and links to Pikes Peak help define a unique relationship with our “backyard” mountain and region. A key part of this relationship, for instance, is the link of Kathryn Lee Bates’ America the Beautiful, inspired on a day trip up the peak while teaching at CC during the summer 1893. Massive wealth from Cripple Creek’s gold fields helped build the campus and the adjacent North End mansions. In return, CC once offered Engineering and Forestry degrees and assisted in assessing the precious metals coming from the mines. Today the Peak serves other purposes and forges other links. Some professors have continuing research based on/around Pikes Peak. Field trips in various classes study the region’s natural characteristics. Students often focus class research and theses on aspects of our backyard region. Documenting and highlighting these CC – Pikes Peak links, including key historic milestones and contemporary contributions, can celebrate our uniqueness as well as recognize those students, faculty and staff involved. The end objective is an interactive web site that can complement other parts of the CC web presence. The chosen team will build upon a rough version of this information about CC and its regional links that exists and can be built upon in creating a dynamic link to the college’s history and current involvement in the region.

Region Wide “passport” options to access public and private attractions in the Pikes Peak Region

The Pikes Peak region has a multitude of experiences tourists and recreationists can enjoy. The Pikes Peak Attractions group, for instance, has some 30 members. And other opportunities are outside of what they offer. Tourists by the millions come to the region for multi-day stays, attracted by a broad range of outdoor and indoor venues and experiences. In other public-private recreation complexes “passes” sometimes allow multi-venue admission; others offer “passports” that can be stamped. And there are other options that can coordinate visits, and often extend by a day or several tourist stays and the expenditures they represent. Residents of regions might have seasonal or yearly passes, similar to what the National Park Service offers. Lessons can be learned from these other approaches to region-wide admission passes. Might some of these offer options for the Pikes Peak Region? This team topic requires an in depth understanding of the broad range of Pikes Peak Region activities. Also a search for other regions and entities offering coordinated admission can highlight approaches that might be applicable to our region. A set of recommended options for Pikes Peak coordinated admission can provide a foundation for exploration and consideration.