Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

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Punched in face: crime motivated by fear, offensive speech, gender & party affiliation

19 Nov 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A woman who punched an unmasked man at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Durango has identified her fear of him, as well as the victim’s gender and his party affiliation as possible motives for initiating violence. It started when Ryan Bartholomew, age 39, of Durango, was with a friend making a purchase at O’Reilly Auto Parts. In the next line over, getting ready to pay for items at a register, was Sadie Wendt, age 23, of Durango, and her girlfriend. While at the register, Wendt asked…


Discussions of naming or renaming of trails deferred to Community Relations Commission

21 Oct 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A vote of the Natural Lands Board vote to defer all trail-naming discussions to the Community Relations Commission follows the renaming of multiple trails on the city’s online interactive map without public input or discussion. Specifically, the new names given to the following trails in the Horse Gulch trail system: Raider Ridge renamed to “Half Ridge” “Extended Ridge” or “Hyper Extended Ridge” Anasazi Descent renamed to “Sendit” Sky Raider renamed to “Ridgeview” Down N Out renamed to “Ben’s Down N Out” Shocker renamed to “Squawker”…


E-bike trial period at Twin Buttes approved by 2 boards and City Council–begins June 29, 2020

19 May 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A sanctioned one-year trial period for class 1 e-bikes on trails at Twin Buttes Open Space has been approved by two City of Durango boards, as well as by City Council. It’ll start on June 29, 2020. First, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board approved the test. Shortly afterwards, most of the the Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board changed their minds and then unanimously approved a trial at Twin Buttes. Originally, I was the only board member in favor of having a sanctioned trial for…


GoPro Video: vulnerable descent from Hogsback

21 Apr 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


The ADA protects those with a disability.

E-bikers: Got a mobility disability? ADA has a section you must read on mobility devices

20 Apr 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

People with a mobility disability have a legal option for defending themselves when riding e-bikes on Durango’s existing natural surface trails. Specifically, disabled e-bikers on natural surface trails should familiarize themselves with a section of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Within the ADA is the Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs) section. Particularly, the section permits you to use e-bikes in areas open to pedestrian use. This does not mean that local municipalities will honor your interpretation of this law, 28 CFR § 35.137(b)(2) of…


Support for electric bike access from previous owners of Overend Mountain Park

18 Apr 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Two previous owners of the city of Durango’s Overend Mountain Park support allowing e-bikes on Durango’s natural surface trails. Before Ed Zink died, he voiced support for allowing a trial period for e-bikes on Durango’s soft-surface trails. Specifically, his comments at a joint advisory board meeting about e-bikes on 10/24/2018 supported a trial. “I’ve been selling bicycles on Main Street Durango for 50 years, and I’ve seen lots of changes. I can remember when mountain bikes first came out and the immediate reaction was, ‘we…


Conflicts between e-bikers & others nonexistent on dirt trails in counties where allowed

11 Apr 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Conflicts between electrical-assisted bike riders and other trail users are non existent on natural surface trails in three counties in different states where they are legal, according to public officials there. Currently, e-bikes are allowed on some natural surface trails in Jefferson County and Boulder County in Colorado. They’re also allowed at McDowell Regional Mountain Park in Maricopa County, Arizona. For JeffCo and Boulder County, their policy changes followed one-year e-bike trial periods when user-intercept surveys were conducted. Subsequently, their experiences provide valuable insight for…


City of Durango staff misleading public on Overend Mtn Park Conservation Easements

27 Mar 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

City of Durango staff are misinforming the public about the conservation easements for Overend Mountain Park by inaccurately saying that they prohibit motorized vehicles. Contradicting the city’s misinformation are the conservation easements for Overend Mountain Park itself, which lacks any language about motorized vehicles. Alarmingly, staff presents the misinformation at board meetings about how to manage electrical assisted bicycles on Durango’s natural surface trails. Overend Mountain Park conservation easements required by GOCO Over decades, most of Durango’s open space was acquired after the city applied…


Conservation easements held for City of Durango open space lands, view documents here

19 Mar 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

This post contains as many of the conservation easements that are held for city of Durango lands as I could find. For now, the conservation easements in this post includes those for Horse Gulch, Dalla Mountain Park, Overend Mountain Park, Bread Express and Oxbow Park and Preserve. The attached Baseline Documentation for the Horse Gulch parcels does contain a conservation easement at the end of each one. Most noteworthy is the conservation easement for Overend Mountain Park, which does not appear to prohibit motorized vehicles.…


Discrimination against e-bikes called out by representative of disabled seniors

13 Mar 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

“Discrimination comes to mind.” Those were the words of Ellen Stein, the Senior Disabled/Disadvantaged Community Representative on the City of Durango’s Multimodal Advisory Board. Stein was responding to the Natural Lands Board’s suggestion of banning electric-assisted bikes from all of Durango’s existing natural surface trails. In particular, Stein was expressing her concerns with the City’s Multimodal Board, the Parks and Recreation Board and the Natural Lands Board. City staff has tasked the three boards with helping to draft policy for electric bikes on Durango’s open…


More photos of arches that you’ve probably never seen before in Aztec, New Mexico

8 Mar 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


Iphone 7+ Video: backcountry tour, Cement Fill, Dec. 29, 2019

1 Jan 2020 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


Video of recent downhilling on the splitboard

27 Dec 2019 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


Dead upon arrival: directional up trail killed without due public process of city boards

25 Dec 2019 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Durango’s Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz killed Trails 2000’s proposal for a directional trail in Overend Mountain Park without letting the Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board vote on it. It would have been a new uphill-directional trail for people that are heading to the top of Star Wars Trail. Star Wars Trail is not officially designated as directional, however, despite numerous letters and public comments that were made to the city in favor of encouraging downward directional traffic there. A few residents in the…


Video: DFPD Chief Hal Doughty, wildfire mitigation proposals, Horse Gulch & Overend Mtn Park

12 Dec 2019 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  


Public comments, joint board meeting, for & against allowing e-bikes on dirt trails

5 Dec 2019 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Public comments were the most interesting part of the recent joint board meeting where the idea of allowing electric assisted bicycles on Durango’s natural-surface trails was discussed. The city’s Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Multi-Modal Advisory Board met to talk about the idea of allowing e-bikes on trails in Durango for a trial period to see how there use is perceived by the public and what impacts they may have. Before the public comments were given, city staff provided…


Allowing E-Bikes on natural surface trails to be the subject of city meeting Wednesday

18 Nov 2019 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Whether e-bikes should be allowed on Durango’s natural surface trails will be the topic of discussion at a joint meeting of three city boards on Wednesday (11/20/19). Public comments will be taken later in the meeting. The Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Multi-Modal Advisory Board will meet together at the Durango Community Recreation Center to have a study session from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Starting at 6:00 p.m., a regular joint advisory board meeting will begin and…


New BLM draft Environmental Assessment to make criminals out of mountain bikers

20 Oct 2019 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A new preliminary Environmental Assessment for transportation and access to BLM lands in southwest Colorado may criminalize mountain biking on parts of Hogsback Trail and Perins Gulch Trail where it was previously allowed for decades. This preliminary Environmental Assessment for Transportation and Access Planning in the Tres Rios Field Office will set the stage for the BLM to have more justification to enforce the bike ban based on their Resource Management Plan. In 2015, a Resource Management Plan prohibited mechanized travel on the trails, and…


Tons of trash from county homeless camp removed by volunteers

17 Oct 2019 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

A group of about 50 people picked up enough trash to fill a 30-yard dumpster last Sunday. The effort was organized by Marsha Porter Norton, La Plata Sheriff’s Department and Trails 2000.


On Horse Gulch Road, is a ban on e-bikes grounded in law?

14 Oct 2019 | Posted by Adam Howell. No Comments  

Don’t let the new “No E-bikes” sign at the gate to Horse Gulch Road mislead you. Electrical assisted bicycles are allowed on the road that’s in the county’s jurisdiction right behind that sign, according to Megan Graham, La Plata County’s Public Information Officer. Electric bikes are only allowed on the non-maintained road for a short distance, however. That’s because the road goes from the county to the city’s jurisdiction a couple hundred feet past the gate. In May of 2016, the city adopted Ordinance 2016-10…


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