The FCC’s Position Statement on the Chautauqua Access Management Plan
The Flatirons Climbing Council (FCC) is a local non-profit dedicated to preserving and expanding climbing access on City of Boulder lands, preserving climbing and natural resources, and working in tandem with land managers on climbing related issues.
Since 2003, the FCC and OSMP have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which creates a framework for the two organizations to have a cooperative working relationship. We are very proud of the positive and productive relationship with the OSMP that we have had for many years.
The FCC and climbers in our community have concerns about the proposed Chautauqua Access Management Plan (CAMP), primarily with the proposed two-hour parking restrictions in “the adjacent neighborhood zone” and the $2.50/hour parking fees. Trailhead parking time restrictions are not consistent with other local, state or national park programs (other than bans on overnight parking).
Climbers and many recreational users spend longer than 2 hours in the open space accessed from Chautauqua. Most of the climbing formations involve an approach hike of 30 to 60 minutes, with additional time require for climbing and the return hike. Spending 6-8 hours away in the open space away from the car is very normal for climbers. It is also normal for most hikers going to the Royal Arch or Green Mountain to spend more than the allotted 2 hours.
According the proposal in the OSBT package, there will be parking without time restrictions along Baseline until just before 10th Street, at the Green and at the Ranger Station. On a busy weekend it’s very likely that the limited number of non-time restrictive spots will be taken, causing many users, not just climbers, to park in the neighborhoods to the north. We recommend that you do not implement time-restrictive parking in the “adjacent neighborhood zone”, north of Baseline. We also recommend that you extend the non-time restrictive parking spots on Baseline past the Green to the east. It’s understandable to have two-hour parking at the cabins and at the Green, which will allow visitors to eat at the Dining Hall, use the playground and do other things in the Chautauqua area.
In addition, we believe the proposed parking fee of $2.50/hour is excessive. One of the principles of the CAMP is to support a diversity of people. We believe that the proposed fee would have a disproportionate effect on lower income populations. If paying to park is a must, we recommend a parking fee of $1.25/hour consistent with the rest of the city, or better yet only charge parking to non-residents, which would be consistent with other trailheads.
Some might say, “Can’t you just climb somewhere else”? The formations accessed from Chautauqua are treasures and climbers have been drawn to them since the early 1900’s and always will be. It is home to world class traditional, sport climbing and bouldering, which will always be a destination for climbers. We recommend a proposal that addresses ease of trail access to these areas, without simply restricting access through time limits and paid parking.
We’re supportive of public shuttles and alternative means of transportation to ease the parking issues at Chautauqua, though these could be cumbersome and time-consuming. Perhaps there could be an access point at the Meadows Shopping Center at Foothills/Baseline with a stop at the New Vista High School. Many out of town visitors could get off Highway 36 at the Meadows lot, which has ample parking.
The FCC is happy to work with the City of Boulder and stakeholders to further discuss these issues. Please contact Ted Lanzano, FCC President, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (303) 819-6427.