Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

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City taking public comments and reviewing one-year electric bike trial period Wednesday

21 Oct 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

The City of Durango will be taking public comments on and reviewing the electric bike pilot program at 5:00 p.m. this Wednesday at the Durango Community Recreation Center. Over the past year, the City of Durango has allowed Class I and II electrical bicycles on several hard-surface trails, as well as on one soft-surface trail during a trial period. Hard-surface trails where they were allowed included the Animas River Trail, the Goeglein Gulch Road Trail, and the Florida Road Trail. The only soft-surface trail where…


FOIA records request stonewalled by USDA Forest Service

17 Oct 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. 1 Comment  

A records request for fire investigation reports related to forest fires that were possibly started by trains of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was stonewalled. San Juan National Forest FOIA Coordinator Jeremiah Hyslop works under Forest Supervisor Kara Chadwick in a position where he, in theory, is supposed to help facilitate the release of records to people who make FOIA requests. Hyslop’s ability to respond to my records request may be restricted by officials working outside of the San Juan National Forest, but…


Scenes from afternoon trail work in Horse Gulch, Telegraph Trail, with Trails 2000

26 Sep 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Telegraph Trail was a busy place today, where tons of people were riding bikes, running and doing trail maintenance. I joined up with some people from Trails 2000 to trim back the oak brush and trees, and install some basic water bars. We moved some dirt around as necessary with hand tools. Telegraph Hill has some great climbing challenges through some chunky gnar. Remember: Telegraph Trail was named after what was actually a party telephone line.


Video: Splitboarding east side of Lobo Peak, Wolf Creek Pass, last winter

22 Sep 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Finding people to go splitboarding with during the winter is spotty. That’s why sometimes you just have to go solo. This is a video that I shot with a Canon Rebel, as well as a GoPro Hero last winter. I rode down Lobo Peak. The snow was deep!


Bait and switch? City of Durango Mayor cancels camp promise with County last minute

3 Sep 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A commitment that the City of Durango’s mayor made to La Plata County Commissioners to open a sheltering area by the Durango Dog Park in exchange for the County closing its camp on county land was cancelled this summer. The mayor changed her mind after the County Commissioners followed through with the agreement by closing the County encampment. For many, the question is whether or not this pressure from Madam Mayor Sweetie Marbury was a tactic that was used in order to convince the county…


Open letter to County Environmental Specialist encouraging revegetation of Horse Gulch Road

22 Aug 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Dear La Plata County Environmental Specialist Leslie Jacoby, I am writing you to convey my concerns with the barren, hard-packed condition of Horse Gulch Road following the attempts that were made to rehabilitate it last winter. In January, a La Plata County dozer operator filled in ruts, regraded the tread, installed water bars, and widened Horse Gulch Road around the intersection below the Meadow Loop, according to the County Engineer. Seed was raked into the ground following the bulldozer operation, you said. For several months,…


Stories+public pressure provoke distortion of barricades, closure signage at Falls Creek Road

12 Aug 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Two gates with “trail closed” signage that Ed Zink installed across Falls Creek Road in June were removed following reporting on Horse Gulch Blog that the barricades defied a court order to keep the road open to the general public. The day before a different, but related story by Jonathan Romeo ran in The Durango Herald, the gate at the top was taken down, and the gate at the bottom was opened. Both gates had the “trail closed” signs removed. It’s unclear who removed these…


Walking Bishop Castle with a GoPro in Rye, Colorado

8 Aug 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


Scenes from a trail work day with Trails 2000 in Three Springs

1 Aug 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


Bike shop owner interferes with popular general public trail-to-forest access on Falls Creek Road

20 Jul 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. 2 Comments  

The owner of Mountain Bike Specialists has tried blockading all of the general public from crossing a popular public trail known as Falls Creek Road. Falls Creek Road is an unmaintained road that’s used as a trail connecting County Road 203 to National Forest lands and County Road 205. Ed Zink said that he installed two new gates with signage that reads, “Trail Closed Extreme Fire Risk,” across each end of his lands where Falls Creek Road crosses over them. The 416 Fire never burned…


Trail Review: Spur Line Trail and “skills area pump track” at Three Springs Community Park

11 Jun 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A new beginner trail in the subdivision of Three Springs has some fast, hard-packed dirt through a mosaic of gamble oak brush, and berms to help you hold the corners. Spur Line Trail, on Southern Ute Growth Fund Land, was built by Trails 2000 crew leaders and volunteers. Hogan Koesis, Purgatory Resort’s Director of Mountain Biking, assisted with machine work on the trail. To get there from Durango, drive east to Wilson Gulch Road, where you will eventually see the trailhead near the northeast corner…


Scenes from the bmx/mtn bike race at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

28 May 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


Belligerence on Ella Vita Court by drunk man from County homeless camp, Jeff Hamerly

26 May 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

While riding my mountain bike up Ella Vita Court towards the Overend Mountain Park, a stumbling drunk man who I’d never seen or met before started talking trash to me. I later learned from the people where he lives at the County homeless camp that his name is Jeff Hamerly. He had a hiking stick, was wearing a black shirt with the sleeves cut off and a black visor for a hat. At about 4:30 when I was riding past him on Ella Vita Court…


Trail work on Mike’s Trail today, and this Saturday is a trash cleanup day at Cap’s Trail

16 May 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Today Trails 2000 did some trail maintenance at the top of Mike’s Trail–mainly drainage work and deberming. It’s really hard to work with dry, dusty soil and rock that doesn’t want to pack down. What Mike’s Trail needs is some rain so that we can put some berms on a few corners. You know? This Saturday, May 19, Trails 2000 is organizing people at 9:00 a.m. below the meadow in Horse Gulch to do some trash cleanup beside Cap’s Trail in honor of Colorado Public…


City officials ask board members to restrict their 1st Amendment right to free speech

13 Apr 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

At an orientation meeting on Thursday, City of Durango officials asked the appointed members of its 21 boards to restrict their speech outside of board meetings. Several examples of speech that City officials asked the board members in attendance to restrict could be interpreted as free speech that’s protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The First Amendment of the U.S.  Constitution lays out the right: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…


Scenes of Durango Devo Flyers learning to fly, freeride mountain bike culture

10 Apr 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

When you ride jumps or features on your bike in such a way that allows you to express style, that’s freeride mountain bike culture. Durango Devo Flyers teaches youth how to play this sport of using their mountain bike as a toy, and I support that lifestyle. Bikes are not just for transportation. Take pride in the sport. Love it. This post is a rare glimpse into the sport that’s here to stay in Durango. href=”″>


$5,000 approved for closure of trails & meadow restoration in Overend Mountain Park

25 Mar 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A $5,000-dollar meadow restoration project that would also close trails at the top of Ned’s Hill in Overend Mountain Park was approved by the Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board this month. I was the only Board member to vote against it; I don’t vote for trail closures without more confidence-inspiring alternatives that are less impactful. Impacts from this project would come in the form of trees, brush, and grass that would have to be removed to reroute the trail around the meadow. A map of…


Celebrating Healthy Communities’ abstinence message resembles that of D.A.R.E. program

12 Mar 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A forum on teenage marijuana use in Durango following legalization in Colorado offered a panel with teen’s perspectives, a marijuana business owner’s explanation of how underage sales are prevented, and a message from a marijuana opponent encouraging abstinence. Coalition Coordinator Breeah Kinsella, of Celebrating Healthy Communities, gave the last speech of the panel. She claimed that marijuana is addictive and talked about the importance of providing teens with accurate information about marijuana. She told the audience to avoid repeating the same failed efforts of the…


Camp host encampment on county land above Manna Soup Kitchen

28 Jan 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


Final Hermosa Creek Plan allows bikes all year on Hermosa, Big Lick, and Elbert Creek Trails

26 Jan 2018 | Posted by Adam Howell. 2 Comments  

The was released today, and the San Juan National Forest decided that it will allow mechanized use of Hermosa Creek Trail, Big Lick Trail, and Elbert Creek Trail year round. It will also allow the West Cross Creek Trail and the Cutthroat Trail to be sanctioned into the system trails once they have been worked on to a point of satisfaction as determined by the District Ranger. Work that needs to be done on these two trails includes input and clearance work from specialists, realignment…


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