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For hikers and climbers all over the country, tackling Colorado fourteeners (peaks with elevations above 14,000 feet) is a focal point of their summer adventures. But since 2005, access to at least three of them—Lincoln, Democrat, and Bross—has been closed, creating frustration for anyone hoping to bag all 54. Private land owners with peakbagging trails on their property cited laibility concerns over open mine shafts and vandalization.
Peakbaggers, rejoice: On June 1, the Kite Lake trail reopened, giving hikers access to Mounts Lincoln and Democrat. Landowners near Bross have not yet reached a settlement, so that peak remains inaccessble.
The trail reopening resulted from strenuous, multi-year negotiations between the private landowners and the Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative (MRHI), Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, the Town of Alma, and the U.S. Forest Service-South Park District.
The reopening remains conditional, and if hikers stray away from the trail or approach any remnant mining structures, landowners could close the trails again. So behave, hikers—and maybe we’ll get Bross on board.
Image Credit: Uhlman
Thanks to Easy E