ALPINE — A water recreation hot spot is closed and public access is not likely to return, with a residential development soon to take over the land.
The slippery, shallow falls known as “Sliding Rock” in Alpine has drawn hundreds of visitors on summer weekends in recent years, but City Councilwoman Kimberly Bryant said the site has always stood on private property.
“It’s not Alpine City’s,” Bryant said. “It’s never been ours, and it never will be. It’s not for sale.”
Bryant said the area has been slated for development since at least 1984.
The city had an opportunity to annex the land once within the past decade, but Bryant said residents voted the acquisition down.
The current developer, according to Bryant, plans to bring high-end homes to Three Falls Estates along with 450 acres of public open space and over 10 miles of public trails, but the public access to Sliding Rock has closed.
"No Trespassing" signs now sit at the entrance to the property.
The increasing popularity of the site had presented challenges to neighbors.
“They were blocking the driveways — it was very, very narrow with little private driveways,” Bryant said. “A lot of families were really respectful and great and nice about it, but unfortunately with anything like that you will have people who are disrespectful.”
Ruth Ann Haws has taken her children to Sliding Rock for many years and said she is disappointed the area has closed.
“I think all of them except our 2-year-old have been down it so far, and we’d sure like it to be there when he’s a couple years older,” Haws said. “It would sure make a lot of us sad if we don’t get to use it anymore.”
Chris Rudolph has walked with his dogs through the area for the past 16 years. He said he hopes there will still be space for him to do so as the project moves forward.
“My concern is hiking access, but I’ve been assured there will be a parking lot down here,” Rudolph said.
Bryant, who has family pictures at Sliding Rock dating back to the early 1980s, said the change is something everyone feels.
“We had just a lot of fun, and I understand people being sad about it, because I feel sad about it, too,” she said.