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Fall 2018 Trail Priorities Survey (Mt. Wilson, Pikes Peak)

The overriding goal of Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) is to ensure that every 14er peak has at least one sustainable summit or approach trail to channel hikers through sensitive alpine areas. Sustainably located, durably constructed trails minimize impacts to native plants and the erosion of thin alpine soils. To date CFI has built 31 sustainable routes on 28 peaks. We are currently constructing new routes on Mount Elbert and Mount Columbia, as well as performing intensive trail reconstruction work on Quandary Peak and Mount Evans.

The next major 14er trail construction project planned by the US Forest Service addresses environmental impacts on and near Mount Wilson in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride. If funding is obtained CFI hopes to begin work on this project during the 2019 summer field season. Your feedback to this survey will help CFI understand hiker perspectives about this planned project.

CFI would also like your help in better understanding hiking use patterns on Pikes Peak. Unlike most 14ers, Pikes Peak can be accessed by several trails, as well as a road and cog railway. Earlier this summer CFI deployed two compact trail counters on Pikes Peak. Anecdotal observations indicate that some hikers may not do round-trip hikes on this peak, which will affect how collected trail data is tabulated.

The survey has 15 questions and is anticipated to take 5 minutes to complete.

In thanks for completing this survey, CFI will randomly select 10 survey respondents to receive a thank you gift ranging from a CFI trucker hat to 14er maps from National Geographic Maps, 14er maps from Outdoor Trail Maps, cards and board games from 14ercards.com or other impressive swag items.
1. Contact Information *This question is required.

Please watch the following YouTube video that flies you over the planned Mount Wilson (Navajo Lakes/North Ridge) route, then answer the following questions about this planned approach route.

2. Have you ever climbed Mount Wilson? *This question is required.
3. If you answered "Yes", what climbing route and approach trail did you use to climb the peak?
4. On a scale of 1-5 (1=worst, 5=best) how would you rate the condition of the North Ridge approach route from the base of the ridge at the valley floor to the buttress of lichen-covered rock at approximately 13,400'? *This question is required.
WorstBadAcceptableGoodBestNo personal experience/Not applicable
5. The Mount Wilson project has two distinct components: 1) Building two sections of new trail to move the existing trail out of sensitive riparian areas around Navajo Lake and the upper headwaters of the Dolores River, and 2) Building a new approach trail from the base of the North Ridge to the headwall of lichen-covered rock at roughly 13,400'. Which elements of the project are most important to you? *This question is required.
6. CFI has estimated that Mount Wilson is among the 18 lowest-use 14ers in Colorado, with 1,000-3,000 hiker days occurring annually. However, Forest Service staff have noticed rapidly deteriorating conditions on the route, with greater trail braiding, trampling of alpine plants and erosion of soils. Should CFI undertake this trail project now while the scope of work is smaller and restoration of denuded areas will be easier and less expensive, or should CFI focus attention on more heavily used and impacted 14ers closer to Denver? *This question is required.
7. The North Ridge route on Mount Wilson ends with Class 4 moves near the summit. While the intended purpose of constructing the approach route is to protect fragile alpine vegetation that is currently suffering impacts due to the lack of a clearly delineated and hardened trail, some feel a constructed trail may make it easier for people without the necessary climbing skills to get high on the mountain. Do you think that the environmental benefits of the improved approach trail outweigh the possibility that unskilled climbers might get higher on the mountain due to the presence of a clearly defined trail?  *This question is required.
8. Do you believe this project will positively contribute to the 14er hiking trail network in the Wilson Massif area? *This question is required.
CFI has been deploying compact infrared trail counters for five seasons on 14ers across Colorado. Previously all counters have been placed in areas where climbers will pass by them on both the ascent and descent. This season CFI placed two counters on Pikes Peak, a mountain that has multiple routes and a road and cog railway to its summit. The road and railway provide options for a climber to get down the mountain without passing the counter on the descent.

Please answer the following questions about your experience(s) on PIkes Peak to help CFI properly calibrate its two counters--one of which is on the Barr Trail, the other of which is on the Crags/Devil's Playground route.
10. Have you ever climbed Pikes Peak? *This question is required.
11. If you answered "Yes", what route did you take on your most recent trip?
12. If you climbed to the Pikes Peak summit by the Barr Trail from Manitou Springs on your latest trip, did you do the round-trip hike or did you descend by an alternate means (i.e. by car or train)?
13. If you have climbed multiple times to the Pikes Peak summit using the Barr Trail, in general did you do the full round-trip hike or descend by an alternate means (i.e. by car or train)?
14. If you climbed the Devil's Playground route from the Crags Trailhead on your most recent trip, did you do a round-trip hike or descend by alternate means (i.e. by car or train)?
15. If you have climbed the Devil's Playground Trail from the Crags Trailhead multiple times, did you generally do the full round-trip hike or descend by alternate means (i.e. car or train)?