Signs like this are posted in Stratton Open Space to keep hikers out of reclamation areas. Rick Bergles said the signs are illegal and has been ticketed for ignoring them and walking past them onto closed trails.
Rick Bergles says it’s a crime what the Colorado Springs Parks Department is doing in Stratton Open Space.
So why is Bergles the one facing trial?
Kurt Schroeder, manager of city parks, trails and open spaces, says Bergles is a rogue hiker who ignores signs warning people to stay off reclamation areas.
Schroeder said Bergles refuses to stay off closed trails and even removes brush barricading the closed areas.
After repeated reports of Bergles going off-trail and removing brush barricades, parks officials ticketed Bergles. He has asked for a trial in municipal court, perhaps later this month.
We’re talking signs and barricades like these:
Colorado Springs Parks Department trail builders have piled tree branches across social trails in Stratton Open Space and buried limbs in paths that have turned into gullies in an effort to stop erosion and reclaim the paths. Hiker Rick Bergles objects to the piles and has been ticketed for ignoring the signs and walking on reclamation areas.
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Bergles insists the signs are illegal. He said the city has no right to restrict his movement inside an open space.
He fears the pilies of slash dramatically increase the danger of wilfire in the park, creating what he calls “fire highways” that will intensify any blaze that occurs.
It outrages him to see the trees that have been cut and used to block the social paths and fill the gullies that criss-cross the 318-acre park.
There is anger in the cutlines of the photos he posted online.
You can hear the anger in his voice when he talks about it on a couple videos he has posted online in his effort to plead his case.
One video shows the slash piles and another takes viewers on a hike in Stratton with Bergles up to an area where a wildfire burned in March.
In this image from FlashEarth.com, a spider web or social trials is visible in Stratton Open Space. xxx Tree branches are piled in a deep gully to catch soil and gravel that washed downhill in rainstorms on the Stratton Open Space. Parks officials buried the slash in the gully, angering Rick Bergles who said it was unnecessary.
- Rick Bergles calls this pile of tree branches a “fire highway” and fears a wildfire in Stratton Open Space will be fueled by similar piles used by the Colorado Springs Parks Department to close social trails and eroding gullies.
I talked to Christina Randall about the piles of slash used to block social paths in Stratton. She is the wildfire mitigation administrator for the city. She said the piles of slash do represent “jackpots of fuel” to a wildfire. But the piles are not near fences or any structures. So they pose little risk.
- Rick Bergles is shown in an interview with KOAA News First 5 after the March wildfire in Stratton Open Space.
And Randall said the benefit created by using brush to plug gullies and catch soil and sediment in reclaiming the area outweigh any risk of intensifying a possible wildfire.
Bergles was cited under a couple city ordinances dealing with destruction and damage to city parks. Here is a link to them.
This link gives some good information about sustainable trails and why social paths that follow the most direct route up a hillside, or along a “fall line,” are bad and contribute to erosion.
A new trail biult at Stratton Open Space is seen parallel to a closed trail that has been filled with buried slash.