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Restoration project to begin after EF1 tornado touched down on Pikes Peak slope this summer

Posted at 2:39 PM, Nov 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-22 16:39:56-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — About four months after an EF1 tornado touched down on a slope of Pikes Peak, a group of experts are ready to begin restoring the area.

The Pikes Peak Tornado Restoration Project is set to begin the week of Nov. 27 and will continue into next spring, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The tornado spiraled out of the sky around 2 p.m. on July 20, touched ground on the mountain's northern slopes and, over the span of eight minutes, ran 2.18 miles between mile markers 5 and 8 along the Pikes Peak Highway, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Meteorologists said the storm had wind speeds around 110 mph.

NWS: Rare tornado confirmed on Pikes Peak, estimated at EF-1

Nobody was injured in the storm, but it caused extensive tree damage just west of the highway.

Multiple large and healthy softwood trees were uprooted, according to the NWS.

Pikes Peak tornado path_National Weather Service

The upcoming work is a group effort between the U.S. Forest Service, City of Colorado Springs Utilities, Pikes Peak - America's Mountain, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the nonprofit Stewardship West. They will remove uprooted and damaged trees across 200 acres of National Forest System land. Contractors will also carry out mechanical thinning work in the area, which was planned prior to the tornado.

Independent of this work, Colorado Springs Utilities will complete similar work on their land that was impacted by the tornado. This will happen at the same time as the Pikes Peak Tornado Restoration Project.

At the end of the project, about 300 acres of forest will have been restored by removing the downed trees, stabilizing soil, reducing erosion, enhancing wildlife habitat and mitigating wildfire risk, according to the USFS.


"The Pikes Peak Ranger District really appreciates the great relationship we have fostered with Stewardship West and look forward to our continued shared stewardship of the National Forest with all our partners," said Pikes Peak District Ranger Carl Bauer. "This is an important project that will help create a healthier forest in the years to come and aligns with our national focus on the Wildfire Crisis Strategy.”

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