Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

23 May 2013

SCC’s Sustainable Forestry Team thins Dalla Mountain Park; City staff destroy jump there

Posted by Adam Howell


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Southwest Conservation Corps’ Sustainable Forestry Team recently finished an 8-day fuel reduction project on the City-owned open space known as Dalla Mountain Park.

Slash piles at a fuels treatment site at Dalla Mountain Park that were made by a Sustainable Forestry Team with Southwest Conservation Corps.

Slash piles at a fuels treatment site at Dalla Mountain Park that were made by a Sustainable Forestry Team with Southwest Conservation Corps.

One of the crew leaders, Preston Hovenkamp, helped lead 6 crew members in thinning out 5.2 acres of gamble oak brush, ponderosa pine, and juniper.

They mainly took out ladder fuels and selectively thinned out trees that were smaller than 8 inches in diameter in order to reduce the threat of intense fire behavior occurring there.

In the gamble oak, they cut openings that will provide valuable edge habitat for wildlife, thus increasing the eco diversity for them in the future. They piled up the trees they cut in to slash piles that were spaced out and will be curing for another crew to burn when the window of opportunity presents itself.

Snaking through the forest near the 5-acre thinning unit where they were working is a freeride trail that is not sanctioned by the City. On that trail, there was a jump made of logs from a thinning project, as well as a trail going over some playful rock outcroppings.

Slash piles at Dalla Mountain Park.

Slash piles at Dalla Mountain Park.

Hovenkamp said that he did not see this trail with rock or wood features that people were obviously riding their bikes across.

“We’ve been getting emails actually from people asking if we’re ripping out structures on some of those trails, and the story is that it’s not us,” said Hovenkamp.

This blogger published a picture of a buddy riding off of a fun log jump up there in March.

This is the jump that Cathy Metz, Durango's Director of Parks and Recreation had City staff destroy up in Dalla Mountain Park. Just think of the same place, but without the logs. It's gone.

This is the jump that Cathy Metz, Durango’s Director of Parks and Recreation had City staff destroy up in Dalla Mountain Park. Just imagine this same place, but without the jump, and that’s what it looks like.

In April, the City’s Director of Parks and Recreation Cathy Metz found out about it and had some of her City staff go up there to destroy the jump. Metz confirmed this in an email.

At the same time, the trail was covered up with some of the logs that were  being used for other natural freeride features up there.

With that said, this blogger will pledge not to publish pictures or identifying features from illegal freeride trails and features built on city lands in the future.

Just know that there are plenty of people in this community of Durango who appreciate these freeride trails enough to build them and ride them on a regular basis, build them sustainably, and will continue to advocate for freeride mountain bike culture on public lands. This, in the face of  Durango officials who have yet to sanction a single existing freeride trail or feature on City-owned open space. Contact Durango’s Director of Parks and Recreation Cathy Metz at Cathy.metz@durangogov.org.

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