Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Why Pikes Peak is Being Paved...
Why make it easier?? Why make it something less unique? Why open it up to NAPCAR vehicles?
Its character and special place in motorsports was derived by its raw, untamed nature. The dirt/gravel made it something different in the world of motorsports dominated by asphalt tethered wuss mobiles.
I still whine about the ever encroaching pavement to this day with the final sections due to be done at any moment.
What I always failed to ask was this: Why is Pikes Peak being paved?
I suppose I always chalked it up to the steady drumbeat of "progress" and a desire to get more giant RVs to the top of the damn mountain.
The paving of Pikes Peak is the result of a Sierra Club lawsuit settled by the town of Colorado Springs in 1999. The Sierra Club sued saying that the town was damaging the mountain (National Forest land) in terms of runoff and excess gravel and was violating the "Clean Water Act".
The town fought the lawsuit briefly out of concern for what impact it would have on the race and the cost to pave the road to the top of the 14,110 mountain but then gave in, seeing the writing on the legal wall with the Sierra Club likely better and more aggressively funded in this effort than the taxpayers of Colorado Springs.
And so some 12 years after capitulation, Pikes Peak is almost paved from top to bottom and I guess the environment there is "saved". I'll miss seeing real cars on a real surface tackle this race. And now I know who to blame...
Colorado Springs 1999 Settlement with Sierra Club...