Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Photo Credit: MJ Venture (iStock).

Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Photo Credit: MJ Venture (iStock).

According to Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Services, 60 miles of illegally built trails have been mapped in the 1.25-square mile Red Rock Canyon Open Space – double the length of legal trails that exist in the space.

The report states that the development and use of illegal trails has increased in recent years and that the organization is now seeking to raise awareness about the topic.

The organization stated that "the unauthorized building of trails is devastating to public land, especially here in the Pikes Peak Region where we have highly erosive soil. It is also expensive and time-intensive to correct. If you engage in illegal trail building you can be fined."

Their announcement was met with a mixed response from the public on social media, some of whom praised the organization and others who found issue with the organization's announcement, doubting the data that indicated so many illegal trails could exist in the relatively small park. Other commenters pushed some of the blame for the illegal trails onto the city, suggesting that trails being legally created did not represent the needs of the public, thus illegal trails were the result.

The organization responded by stating "We agree, it is a lot. It’s a daunting number to address, and that’s why we’re speaking up. Red Rock Canyon is nearly 800 acres, which means there’s a lot of room to roam. And, that’s exactly what has been happening here and elsewhere. Illegal trails include footpaths, social trails and any undesignated areas that are manmade. Also, this damage hasn’t taken place overnight. This trail trampling has taken place over many years, which is why the number is so startling. Together, through better awareness of the issue, we believe we can at least slow its growth, freeing up resources to make new, sustainable trails."

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