Estes Park considers purchasing private land to save popular climbing spires

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ESTES PARK, Colo. — The town of Estes Park is holding a neighborhood meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the possibility of the town buying a plot of land where two popular spires exist.

The spires are known as “the Needle” and “the Thumb.” They are situated on Prospect Mountain on the east side of Estes Park and are popular among climbers.

“We’ve been told the history on this goes back to the 1940s for public climbing,” said Travis Machalek, town administrator for Estes Park.

The land where the spires exist is currently privately owned by an out-of-state family. But the family wants to sell the land and it is hoping the town of Estes Park will purchase it.

“It’s a beautiful open property,” said Jeffrey Boring, executive director of The Estes Valley Land Trust.

The family is asking $600,000 for the land. It’s a lot of money for the town of Estes Park, so local leaders are currently mulling over ways to come up with the funds.

The property’s current owners are giving the town until June 1, 2020 to make a decision. If the town doesn’t purchase the land, it will likely be sold for development, which means access to the spires will likely be closed off.

“If the property were to change hands. there’s the potential the new owner would not be interested in allowing the use of the Thumb or the Needle as climbing areas,” Machalek said.

After receiving public input, the Estes Park town board will make a final decision on whether it will purchase the land sometime in December.

If the town purchases the land, it plans to create and open space park called, “The Thumb Open Space.”

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