Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

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Horse Gulch Special Emphasis Area-page-001

Kitty Charmer, that new freeride trail on Raider Ridge that you love? City officials want it gone

18 Apr 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. 4 Comments  

About that new freeride trail on Raiders Ridge that you love for it’s drops, jumps, berms and tech–City officials know about it, and they already have it scheduled for closure. Kitty Charmer Trail might be charming the kitties or freeriders, but it sure as hell isn’t charming officials with the City of Durango. A draft Natural Surface Trails Analysis Report released by the City of Durango on Tuesday goes in the opposite direction recommended by most commenters on the initial Report released last October. It…

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A freerider hitting a jump on the Dalla Mountain Freeride Trail. Don't let the City of Durango destroy this trail!

Sign this compiled-signature petition resisting closure of two user-built mountain bike trails

16 Apr 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. 7 Comments  

On a map of trails that the City of Durango most recently has slated for closure in the final draft of the Natural Surface Trails Analysis Report, at least two are worth asking them to save. Those include the Kitty Charmer Trail on Raiders Ridge by Horse Gulch, and the Phoenix Trail, aka the Dalla Mountain Freeride Trail. They’re both ridden primarily by mountain bikers, and they both are extremely popular for their naturally rocky terrain, drops and jumps. Your signature is needed to voice…

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Lot 24, one of the parcels formerly owned by Oakridge Energy, Inc, is now owned by Marc and Jane Katz of Durango.

Locals Marc and Jane Katz now own most of Ewing Mesa, bought from Oakridge Energy, Inc.

13 Apr 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A man living in Durango, Marc Katz, and his wife, Jane Katz, closed on 54 parcels of land on Ewing Mesa adjacent to Horse Gulch for $14 million dollars last Friday, April 10th. The large 1,850-acre swath of land was formerly owned by Oakridge Energy, Inc, a Utah Corporation with a legal address in Wichita Falls, Texas. Both Marc and Jane are listed on the warranty deed that documents their purchase of Lots 1 through 54, as well as the water rights for those parcels,…

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Purgatory's owner, James Coleman.

Purgatory’s Owner, James Coleman, talks about mountain bike trails, infrastructure at resort

9 Apr 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. 5 Comments  

Purgatory’s Owner, James Coleman, answered several questions for Horse Gulch Blog about downhill mountain bike trails and infrastructure at the resort through his Director of Ski Area Marketing, Stacey Glaser. What is James’ opinion about the sport of freeride/downhill mountain biking? While my first priority is skiing, I also enjoy mountain biking and support all forms of the sport, including free-ride and downhill mountain biking. As a matter of fact, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area offers lift served access as well as one of the top…

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Photos: Walking CDOT’s proposed realignment of US 550 to US 160 at the Bridge to Nowhere

29 Mar 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Last week I walked CDOT’s path for the proposed realignment of US 550 to US 160 at the Bridge to Nowhere with some environmental scientists from SME. During our hike, we saw deer, elk and bear fleeing the steeps of the northern aspects as we approached. Check out some of the prime edge habitat in a pinon juniper forest where we walked CDOT’s preferred alternative in the photographs below.

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Alpine Bike Parks, a full-service design/build contractor, drafted this map for what a bike park might look like at Chapman Hill.

Three bike park designs by Alpine Bike Parks and a poll to vote on your favorite for Durango

7 Mar 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. 10 Comments  

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Lynx

Lynx sighting from a vehicle

4 Mar 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

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Log Chutes is an area that's being considered for the creation of a sanctioned downhill mountain bike zone.

Log Chutes Downhill Mountain Bike Zone EA project analysis postponed indefinitely

2 Mar 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Following the recent completion of the draft environmental assessment of the Log Chutes Downhill Mountain Bike Zone by employees with the Columbine Ranger District, the project has been postponed indefinitely due to budgetary reasons, according to District Ranger Matt Janowiak. “It was never put out for public comment,” said Janowiak. “The document itself is finished, but we never did release it.” “It’s a decision that was made by the Forest Supervisor to not move forward with the project,” said Janowiak. “There may be some changed…

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Photo essay: Marijuana grow operations at a local, state-regulated warehouse

26 Feb 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

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Outlined in red is the perimeter of the City's Cundiff Park by the Animas River. Conceptualized by Alpine Bike Parks is a slopestyle course/dirt jump area in the yellow circle, and a skills area in the orange circle.

Alpine Bike Parks airs new bike park alternative for Cundiff Park by Animas River

23 Feb 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. 3 Comments  

A design for a new bike park at the City of Durango’s Cundiff Park by the Animas River is turning some heads among the local mountain bike community for it’s appeal with riders who want a bike park with a social atmosphere and quick turnaround times back to the beginning of each trail. Alpine Bike Parks, a full-service design/build contractor out of British Columbia, had an employee of theirs in town last week who led a presentation/discussion about the feasibility of putting in a bike…

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Bridge to Nowhere

Why I still favor Farmington Hill over realigning US Highway 550 at the Bridge to Nowhere

17 Feb 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

What would Florida Mesa look like if the Colorado Department of Transportation excavates 1.82 million cubic yards of material from the northern end of it in order to realign US Highway 550 to the Bridge to Nowhere at the Grandview Interchange? I would prefer not to see the geographical impact of this alternative called RGM6. I would prefer not to see those one hundred thousand dump truck loads (18 cubic yards per load) of material get removed from Florida Mesa. The visual impact of what…

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ridge edit

Two images

16 Feb 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

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Exhibit 6-31 RGM6 Illustration 1

CDOT’s most recent design proposal for connecting US 550 at the Bridge to Nowhere

6 Feb 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. 2 Comments  

The Colorado Department of Transportation has a new design proposal for connecting US Highway 550 to the Bridge to Nowhere on US Highway 160, also known as the Grandview Interchange. In the new design, referred to by CDOT as RGM6 , the Preferred Alternative, the road would run along the edge of Florida Mesa before popping out at the Bridge to Nowhere (my words), instead of cutting straight across the Webb Ranch. The old Farmington Hill approach would be reclaimed and the existing intersection at…

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Looking south on the extended part of Raiders Ridge.

City of Durango now owns extended Raiders Ridge parcels, without land trust regulation

14 Jan 2015 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

The extended, upper Raiders Ridge Trail has long been a favorite for people wanting stellar views of the Animas Valley or challenging rocky terrain to ride on. As of December 23, 2014, most of the extended part is now owned by the City of Durango, following guidance from the Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board and City staff, said Durango’s Assistant Community Development Director Kevin Hall. Unlike many other open-space parcels that the City has purchased in Horse Gulch, this one will not be regulated by…

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Artwork by Austin Hatala.

Submit follow up comments after last joint board meeting on proposed trail closures

15 Dec 2014 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

The City of Durango is accepting additional public comments regarding the recommendations from the Natural Surface Trails Committee, and more importantly, their proposal to close several popular trail segments on City lands. If you attended the last joint meeting between the Natural Lands Board and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board where they discussed the Committees’ recommendations, heard public comments and discussed the proposed closure of trails on City lands, you may have some questions such as: Why is Trails 2000 on a Committee that’s…

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Latest GOCO Open Space Grant request to help fund upper Raiders Ridge purchase–denied

15 Dec 2014 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Last Spring, the City of Durango applied for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to help purchase 113 acres of Jake Dalla’s land on the extended Raiders Ridge. This week, we got word that the City’s GOCO grant request had been denied, which means that Durango might instead follow their backup plan to purchase all or part of Dalla’s land with with its own money. While a purchase made with matching GOCO and City of Durango funding would likely result in the land going…

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Buddies on Raiders Ridge

Raiders Ridge

7 Dec 2014 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

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Erosion-control wattles, seen at the bottom of the drainage in Horse Gulch, were placed with good intentions. Their ability to actually control the flow of rain water and debris in this application is questionable. They were placed in the ditch right above the Horse Gulch trail head.

Questionable placement of erosion control wattles in Horse Gulch

7 Dec 2014 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

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This proposal was put into action on December 23, 2014, when the City of Durango closed on it, with no regulatory oversight required by La Plata Open Space Conservancy.

City to soon close on Jake Dalla’s Raiders Ridge property

10 Nov 2014 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

The City of Durango will be closing on 113 acres of Jake Dalla’s Raiders Ridge property at the end of December, which could come with the help of a Great Outdoors Colorado grant. With or without the grant, the city is under contract to purchase the land from Dalla at his requested price of $6,000 dollars per acre. If the GOCO grant is not awarded, the city will purchase the 113 acres in two phases, said Durango’s Assistant Community Development Director Kevin Hall. Assistant Community…

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La Plata Open Space Conservancy’s Jerry Zink dismisses needs of mountain bikers

10 Nov 2014 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

The president of La Plata Open Space Conservancy scoffed at the requests of fourteen mountain bikers who asked two city boards at a joint meeting not to close several trails on city lands that are slated for closure. Jerry Zink, President of La Plata Open Space Conservancy and owner of Sunnyside Meats processing facility, erroneously told a crowd of mostly mountain bike advocates that conservation easements don’t respond to need, and that Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) does not award grants for user-specific projects. La Plata…

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