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

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.

This gate was put up by Ed Zink.

This gate was put up by Ed Zink.

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 trees on his land, Zink said.

At the same time, the Forest Service land that the Falls Creek Road crosses over next to the Zink’s land is currently open to public traffic, according to an Area Closure map provided by the Forest Service.

“No governmental entity has stepped up to manage the road. So we assume it must not be a public road even though you think it is,” said Zink. “If it were truly a public road open to the general public who do you think should be responsible for it?” said Zink.

While public officials with the County have avoided maintaining the road or calling it a County Road, they do call it a public road. Also, a district court judge in 1979 declared Falls Creek Road a public roadway through adverse possession while adjudicating a civil case involving Zink’s dad.

District Court Judge Frederic Emigh found that Falls Creek Road was a public roadway through uninterrupted use or objection on part of the owners of such lands for twenty consecutive years, citing C.R.S. 1973 43-2-201 (1) (c). The Forest Service bought the Falls Creek Archeological Area lands in the early 1990’s, according to Ed and Patti Zink.

IMG_3091[1]More importantly, Judge Emigh ordered defendants in that case to stop interfering with, harassing, or stopping members of the general public from access to, across, and along the roadway commonly known as Falls Creek Road.

Additionally, Judge Emigh ordered the defendants to remove the fence constructed on the property adjacent to their property, and to open access to said Falls Creek Road to members of the general public.

Does this sound familiar?

This same scenario is happening today, except it’s Ed Zink who is closing the road this time by interfering with access by the general public.

Durango Herald and Zink mislead public on road access

Despite the clearly articulated order from Judge Emigh to stop interfering with the general public from access to, across, or along the roadway commonly known as Falls Creek Road, both Ed Zink and The Durango Herald have irresponsibly convoluted the facts of this story.

This gate with closure signage was installed by Ed Zink on Falls Creek Road at the border with National Forest lands.

This gate with closure signage was installed by Ed Zink on Falls Creek Road at the border with National Forest lands.

In a Nov. 26, 2017 story in The Durango Herald, reporter Jonathan Romeo stated that there is no clear answer as to whether or not people can get to the Falls Creek trail system from the access road on County Road 203.

This first claim by The Durango Herald is false.

Start with a definition of general public by Merriam Webster dictionary that states: “all the people of an area, country, etc. The park is open to the general public.”

We know that Judge Emigh’s order specifies that access to Falls Creek Road by the general public should not be stopped or interfered with. Of course, accessing the road is the equivalent of using the road.

This gate is on the Bronson’s property at the base of Falls Creek Road off of County Road 203. It is easy to walk around and does not attempt to interfere with access by the general public.

This gate is on the Bronson’s property at the base of Falls Creek Road off of County Road 203.

Yet the Durango Herald story  says, “Indeed, the judge’s ruling does not specify the use of Falls Creek Road, and Zink said it is likely a lawsuit would have to resolve that.”

This second claim by The Durango Herald is a little vague, and could mislead the general public into thinking that they do not have the legal right to use or access Falls Creek Road.

Meanwhile, The Durango Herald quoted Zink, who faulted the Order’s use of the nebulous word ‘public,’ even though Zink conveniently left out the term ‘general public,’ which Emigh used repeatedly in his Order.

Law enforcement response

La Plata County Sheriff’s Sergeant Zach Farnam said that members of the general public who stay within a 30-foot easement on Falls Creek Road will not be cited for trespassing while on the road across Ed And Patti Zink’s land.

While the signage about the fire hazard that’s posted on the two new gates on the Zink’s land is realistic, Farnam said that the interference with public access to the road needs to stop.

IMG_3089[1]“More or less, we are going to recommend to them that they are probably going to need to take those gates down,” said Farnam.

Language about general public access in Judge Emigh’s court order in 1979 persuaded County officials to side with allowing public access to the Falls Creek Road, as long as people stay within that easement corridor.

“Utimately that’s what our county attorney, why we recommended to the Zinks that that needs to remain for at least some sort of limited access,” said Farnam. “Obviously you’re not going to drive a truck up it, but you know there needs to be something, because we can’t define exactly what a judge in 1979 meant. But at least in some way, shape or form, there needs to be an access.”

Ed Zink refused to say what he would do to anyone caught using Falls Creek Road across his property, or those caught removing the gates that he installed.

Falls Creek Road, Public Easement-page-001

‘General public’ hiker confronted by Kristi Zink at Falls Creek Road off County Road 203

Rhonda Brown was minding her own business one day where she parked along County Road 203 at the entrance to Falls Creek Road. She was leashing up her dog, getting ready to go on a hike up the public roadway that’s known to many locals as a trail.


This gate with restrictive signage on it was removed from its hinges after people learned that Falls Creek Road is open to the general public.

A local resident named Kristi Zink drives up, rolls down the window, and tells Brown that she cannot hike there, because it’s private property, said Brown.

Brown, who’s been hiking the road for twenty years, said that she told Zink that she was given permission from the Swansons to hike on the road and trails on the Swanson’s land.

Zink says ok, and then starts to drive off. A couple seconds later, Zink stops, puts the car in reverse, and comes back to ask Brown not to park there, as it draws too much attention, Brown said.

“I said, ‘ok, have a nice day,'” said Brown. “I just left my car.”

Brown then ignores Zink’s request, leaves her car in the right-of-way and then goes hiking, Brown said.

“She definitely confronted me, and also she had called because I had my business number on the car and she had told me that I can no longer hike up there,” said Brown. “And I asked if I can meet with her, and maybe she can meet me, and my mom likes to hike up there and meet her. Maybe we can have permission to stay on the road and we don’t ever mess with the irrigation or throw rocks at people or anything. But she declined to do that.”

Before that interaction, Zink had contacted Brown by text message to let her know that she could not travel on the road.

“Hello Rhonda. I’m sorry but you and your mother will no longer be able to use our property. Everyone is asking for special permission and we have to draw the line somewhere. Ours will now only be open to family. I’ll look the other way if u want to go up one last time. It will probably take us and the other landowners a while to change the signs at the gate. We will begin prosecuting trespassers and we currently have security cameras up there on our property which is the majority of that road. There are lots of public land in this area so I would greatly appreciate if u took advantage of that and not private property.  Thanks for your understanding. Kristi.”

Kristi Zink declined to return my phone calls requesting comments for this story.

Meanwhile, threats made towards people using the road could be misleading, given that Falls Creek Road was designated as a public roadway that’s open to the general public, by a district court judge in 1979.

History of Falls Creek Road as a public roadway

Falls Creek Road is a popular connector for people that use it as an access route from County Road 203 to the Church Camp Trails and Falls Creek Archaeological Area of the San Juan National Forest.

IMG_1570[1]It is basically an unimproved road that people mostly use as a trail.

A district judge ordered Falls Creek Road open to the general public in response to a 1979 civil court complaint that was filed by John Zink.

It’s legal status as a public roadway was recently challenged by John’s son, Ed Zink, in a Durango Herald article where he said that the word ‘public,’ was nebulous, and that a public right-of-way could apply to a select number of people.

Neither Zink or the The Durango Herald story acknowledged that the court order specified that Falls Creek Road is open to the general public.

In 1979, neighbors whose property the road crosses had signed an easement agreement with the Zink's parents, stating that they would grant the public a 60-foot wide easement across their properties.

They signed it right after the court order of 1979, which said that Falls Creek Road was open to the general public as a roadway.

I was unable to find a recorded version of the easement agreement, but a copy of the document is embedded as a link into this story.

Zink’s neighbors objected to driveway improvements

In early May of 2008, Ed and Patti Zink invited their neighbors over for a meeting to talk about their thoughts and future plans for accessing their 30-acre parcel up on the hill.

IMG_6203Afterwards and over the next two months, the neighbors wrote letters that the Zinks included with their road application to the Forest Service stating that they would prohibit the Zinks from improving the road across their properties to access their land above.

Without permission to improve the road, the Zinks then had a way of stating in their road application as to why alternative routes were not selected, which was because the neighbors denied them access.

In reality, the denial letters from the neighbors had questionable legal grounding based on the non-exclusive easement that was written into the deeds of two of those same neighbors.

Plus, Judge Emigh’s 1979 court order granted the public roadway open to the general public. As such, what legal grounds did the neighbors have to say that the roadway couldn’t be improved?

Emigh’s court order, as well as the non-exclusive easement on Falls Creek Road, were not mentioned in the application that the Zinks submitted to the Forest Service 29 years later.

Six years after the Zinks submitted their road application in 2008, the Forest Service sent out a scoping cover letter to get public comment on the Proposed Action to issue a Special Use Permit for the driveway.

Mysteriously, the 1979 court order, as well as the deeds with the non-exclusive easement were also missing from the list of issues already identified in the scoping cover letter.

Neighbor’s driveway improvement objections contradict non-exclusive easement in five deeds

Letters that the neighbors wrote to the Forest Service for the Zink’s road application also appear to directly contradict the non-exclusive road easement that’s written into the property deeds for the neighbor’s parcels that Zink’s driveway would need to cross.

This sign was nailed to a cottonwood tree that had fallen over by Falls Creek Road. The sign appeared to be on the Zink's 30-acre parcel.

This sign was nailed to a cottonwood tree that had fallen over by Falls Creek Road. The sign appeared to be on the Zink’s 30-acre parcel.

Both Robert Swanson and Karen Benson had objected to the Falls Creek Road being upgraded for the purpose of a driveway that the Zinks could use to access their property on the hill, despite the non-exclusive easement across their properties that appeared to suggest otherwise.

The Sanines used to own the parcel that Benson later bought. When the Sanines owned it, a non-exclusive easement was written into the deed.

Here are some excerpts of the earlier deeds that may have effected the parcels that Falls Creek Road crosses over, given that non-exclusive easements stay with the property, not the owner:

“Together with all the right, title and interest of the beneficiary in and to a non-exclusive easement for a road known as “Falls Creek Road” commencing a point in Primary La Plata County Highway designated as No.2 and crossing the above described tract; but subject to said easement as it crosses above tract,” says the Van Den Berg to Zink Deed.

“Except general taxes for 1978 and subsequent years and except easements, rights-of-ways, restrictions and reservations of record, in any. EXCEPTING also a non-exclusive easement for a road known as “Falls Creek Road” as referred to in Instrument recorded April 22, 1974 under Reception No. 384258,” said the Van Den Berg to Sanine Deed.

“It is the intention of the parties of the first part to create an access roadway connecting old U.S. Highway No. 550 to the roadway commonly known as Falls Creek Road and to confirm unto parties of the second part the right to use said Falls Creek Road. SUBJECT to a non-exclusive easement and right-of-way for a road not exceeding 30 feet in width as laid out and constructed and commonly known as Falls Creek Road,” said the Ruby Zink-to-Swanson Deed.

“A non-exclusive easement and right of way for a road not to exceed thirty feet in width lying along the south boundary line of the following tract of land: [meets and bounds legal description] It is the intention of the parties of the first part to create an access roadway connecting old U.S. Highway No. 550 to the roadway commonly known as the Falls Creek Road and to confirm unto parties of the second part the right to use said Falls Creek Road,” said the deed from Don and Ida Kolb to John and Ruby Zink. Reception 369770

“Subject to easements and rights of way for all existing roads, highways, pipelines, and utilities, and particularly the Falls Creek Road as constructed over, through and across said premises as described in Deed recorded March 3, 1972 as Reception No. 369482,” said the Sittner-Harding Warranty Deed.

To this day, the San Juan National Forest continues to weigh the issues effecting the Zink’s road application, as well as the Zink’s request for the agency to buy their 30-acre parcel.

Even if the 30-acre parcel ends up becoming public land, the Zinks could continue to claim that anyone on Falls Creek Road that’s crossing their adjacent parcel is trespassing.

Anyone who is threatened for using Falls Creek Road is advised to call the Sheriff’s office immediately, and have them file a police report. Their number is (970) 385-2900.

Adam Howell is an advocate for trails and mountain bike access. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.

Court order gave prescriptive easement for public right-of-way on Falls Creek Road

A married couple that owns a bike shop and a land-locked parcel by Falls Creek is defying a court-ordered prescriptive easement to open a public roadway on their property to the general public.

IMG_1471[1]Ed and Patti Zink currently own two Falls Creek parcels on the hill between Hidden Valley and Animas Valley by County Road 203 of around 41 acres.

Many people know the Falls Creek Road as a trail. Because of its unimproved nature, it’s been a while since four-wheeled vehicles have driven on it.

In addition to the Zink’s signage asking the general public to stay off of the Falls Creek Road, they are also asking the Durango community to rally behind their request to the Forest Service to buy their 30-acre parcel for conservation purposes.

If the San Juan National Forest won’t buy their land, they will try to sell it to the highest bidder, they said. A private owner could potentially bulldoze a road across Forest Service land to their conservation-easement-protected piece of land after an Environmental Assessment is done, said Patti Zink.

Building a home on the property could also be difficult from County Road 203, due to the steep hill next to it. The county’s driveway standards prohibit driveways that are greater than 12% grade, without a waiver from the Public Works Director.

Once the owners get permission to build a developed driveway to the bigger parcel, they could also build a mansion there, according to the terms of the conservation easement.

A listing of the property could not be found on either the Wells Group website or the Zillow website on November 19th.

Meanwhile, the public has no way to access the Falls Creek Archaeological Area on Forest Service land from County Road 203 without knowing that the signed closure of the Falls Creek Road is groundless in law.

Un-interupted public use of Falls Creek Road prior to 1979 closure

Leading to and from Ed and Patti Zink’s land that overlooks pristine waterfalls and the Animas Valley, the Falls Creek Road has been known for at least 119 years as providing travel connectivity between Hidden Valley and County Road 203.

Tract 1, 10.04-acre parcel, Ed and Patti Zink

Zink’s 10.04-acre parcel, Tract 1, is the western lot on the left side of this map. Their 30-acre parcel is directly to the north of Tract 1. Map courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department.

Under Colorado Revised Statute 43-2-201(c), roads over private lands that have been used adversely without interruption or objection on the part of the owners of such lands for twenty consecutive years shall be declared a public highway.

Falls Creek Road had been used without interruption or objection for at least twenty years, according to a court ruling in 1979.

The road starts at the bottom of the hill at 3911 County Road 203 on Michael and Johnna Bronson’s property. Michael Bronson declined to comment for this story.

Before the Bronson’s bought the property at the bottom of the Falls Creek Road, someone had put up a gate there at the entrance. Ed Zink’s sister, Ida Kolb, used to own the Bronson’s parcel, where she lived.

Judge declares road a public right-of-way through adverse use

Kolb, who was Ed Zink’s sister, had a neighbor next door named Oscar Sittner.

In 1979, Sittner decided to build a barricading fence across Falls Creek Road on Kolb’s property, according to a civil court complaint that Kolb’s dad filed on their behalf.

Sittner’s fence prevented Kolb’s dad, John Zink, from accessing their property up on the hill, where they needed to go to perform maintenance on their reservoir, the complaint said.

“That because of the heavy amount of snow accumulation, Plaintiffs need to get immediate access to their property which contains a reservoir, so that reservoir may be cleaned, maintained and worked upon to prevent the possible collapse thereof and prevent the flooding of downstream properties as well as ready same for the flow of water during irrigation season,” the complaint says.

“Plaintiffs herein will suffer damages by reason of Defendants’ refusal to allow Plaintiffs the use of Falls Creek Road, in that said Plaintiffs will be unable to gain access to their lands in order to maintain the reservoir thereon, which might cause damages to downstream property owners and subjecting said Plaintiffs to the possibility of lawsuits being filed against them,” the complaint says.

In response, the judge presiding over the case ruled the road a public right-of-way through its adverse use. He said that access to the road had been provided, without interruption or objection for 20 consecutive years, citing C.R.S. 43-2-201 (1) (c).

John Zink won the lawsuit, and the defendant’s Sittner and Nicks were ordered to open the road to the public and pay the court costs.

As a result of the court order that came out of John Zink’s civil complaint, the “public roadway” that’s open to the “general public” as a “public right-of-way,” was reaffirmed and acknowledged in court case documentation using the word ‘public’ as the common adjective.

Sittner was ordered to pay for the court costs, expert witness fees, as well as the work that John did with a backhoe to remove Sittner’s fence, court records show.

Neighbors signed public road easement following court order

Falls Creek Easement that grants a public road easement to Falls Creek Road. Drafted on July 21, 1979, immediately after the court ordered the presecriptive easement for the road.

Document courtesy of a La Plata County official.

‘Private Property Access Restricted’ sign posted on road defies court order

Falls Creek Road was likely reopened to the public, thanks to a judge’s response to John Zink’s complaint.

The signs on this gate were put there by Ed and Patti Zink, according to Patti Zink.

The signs on this gate on the Bronson’s property were put there by Ed and Patti Zink, according to Patti Zink.

Twenty three years later, pedestrian traffic on the road has increased.

Since then, Ed and Patti have experienced people disrespecting them and their Falls Creek property.

That’s why the Zink’s are posting threatening signage on Falls Creek Road.

Ironically, the Zinks are now using ‘private property’ signage to keep the public off of Falls Creek Road, which Judge Emigh declared a public roadway in response to Ed’s dad’s complaint in 1979.

A “Private Property Access Restricted” sign at the trailhead on County Road 203, as well as the “No Trespassing Hunting or Fishing Violators Prosecuted Under Penalty Of Law” signs at Falls Creek Road’s intersection with their property were installed by Ed and Patti Zink, said Patti Zink.

Patti said that they also installed another sign where Falls Creek Road intersects with their land stating the following:

IMG_1470[1]“The National Forest land has ended and private property has begun. Please do not trespass. The website saying that this land is open to the public is incorrect,” the sign says. “Security cameras are in use. Thank you.”

In contrast, the ruling from Judge Frederic Emigh stated that the public road going across the Kolb’s property, just below the Zink’s, should not be barricaded, nor should the people using it be harassed.

As for the road’s jurisdictional status, the County does not see it as an official county road, said Megan Graham, the County’s Public Affairs Officer.

“Since it’s been declared a public road, any member of the public can assert their right to use the road, and if they’re denied access they can bring an action in civil court,” said La Plata County Attorney Sheryl Rogers.

“The County likely would not participate in that litigation,” said Rogers. “There’s other litigation locally that’s happened about roads that are public but not county, and we’re not a party to it.”


Patti Zink does not want this story to run

While Ed Zink had implied in a Durango Herald story that Falls Creek Road is private, Patti Zink told me the opposite.

Just before Patti Zink kicked me out of her house for asking her questions about the status of Falls Creek Road, she deterred me from running a story about the road.

“I’m not going to answer any questions about the public road,” said Patti Zink.

“Doing a side story about whether or not that’s a public road will do nothing to help the community to come together to buy this,” she said.

“In the last five years we’ve had vandalism, people messing with the water diversion, there have been fire pits done up there,” she said. “Do we want the land above our house that we’ve let the public use cause a fire that takes down our neighbors houses? No, we sure don’t.”

The ‘No Trespassing’ signage along the road may come across as confusing when given the context of the judge’s ruling that Falls Creek Road is a public right-of-way.

“These signs have been up here for fifteen years,” she said. “Never have we asked anybody to come off the land. Never have we prosecuted anybody or said you’re trespassing.”

Even if their 30-acre parcel ends ups in the hands of the Forest Service, the Falls Creek Road still crosses over the Zink’s 10.04-acre parcel, leaving the question of whether the ‘Private Property Access Restricted’ campaign on behalf of the Zinks would continue.

Groundless access restrictions of two conservation easements

Adding to the confusion of whether the public is allowed on the Falls Creek Road is the existence of two conservation easements for the parcels owned by the Zinks, which attempt to restrict the public’s access to the road. The conservation easements were created 11 years after the judge ordered the roadway right-of-way to be reopened to the general public.

“Nothing contained herein shall be construed as affording the public access to any portion of the land subject to this Easement,” the conservation easements say.

A conservation easement for the 10.04-acre parcel (Reception #509713) says that the owners shall preserve its wildlife and recreational uses. The conservation easement deeds also do not acknowledge that the property had a road or trail running across it, despite its existence on La Plata County maps, San Juan National Forest maps and USGS Topographic Quadrangle maps dating back to 1898.

Baseline documentation for the conservation easements could help determine why they attempted to restrict the public from accessing the public roadway right-of-way, or why the road was not mentioned in the conservation easements.

This blogger was unable to obtain the baseline data for the conservation easements because Amy Schwarzbach, Executive Director for La Plata Open Space Conservancy, said that the baseline documentation for conservation easements are not public record, and would not provide it.

Ed Zink said that the conservation easements on the two parcels of land that him and his wife currently own were established by other people.

“The 11 acre parcel by my parents, and the 30 acre parcel by my sister, all of which are passed away now,” said Zink. “Both conservation easements were done several years before we became the owners and we were not involved in the process in any way.”

“I do not recall ever seeing the “Baseline Documentation Reports” for either parcel,” he said.

Additionally, no baseline data on the property is available through the La Plata County Clerk and Recorder’s office.

If the Zinks or any future owner of their land want to amend the groundless access restrictions of their conservation easements, a request to La Plata Open Space Conservancy to amend it could cost $1,000 dollars, according to their written policy.

Conservation Easement for the Zink’s 11-acre property: reception number 509713

Conservation Easement for Ida Kolb’s old 30-acre parcel, now belonging to Ed and Patti Zink: reception number 604730, CLICK HERE.

La Plata County tax maps

ScreenHunter_131 Nov. 21 20.24

Map of Falls Creek Road easement from 1997. Courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department and Elizabeth Dufva.

Map courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department and Elizabeth Dufva.

Map courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department and Elizabeth Dufva.

La Plata County Map from 1980. Courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department.

La Plata County Map from 1981. Courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department and Elizabeth Dufva.

ScreenHunter_127 Nov. 21 20.21

Map of Section 28 from 1968. Courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department and Elizabeth Dufva.

Relevant deeds and court order for prescriptive road easement–Click documents below

Court records, click below:
Lawsuit between John Zink and Oscar Sittner, Judgement and Court Order. Reception Number 433516

Lawsuit between John Zink and Oscar Sittner with Complaint, Motion for Default, and Order for Default

Old deeds with non-exclusive easement, click below:
Van den Berg Deed (Zink) Deed. Reception Number 384258
Sanine Deed (Van den Berg) Benson. Reception Number 421622
Benson to Broderick Deed Pdf. Reception number 1082817
Swanson Deed and Easement from Zink, 1972, reception number 369482
Kolb Deed (Zink)_OCR
Sittner-Harding Warranty Deed, Reception #441851

Related deeds, click below:

King-Zink Deed, 1982, reception # 477499

Gifford-Zink Deed 1978, reception # 421531, CLICK HERE

Personal Representative’s Deed to Michael and Johnna Bronson’s property, 2016, reception number 1114776, CLICK HERE

Swanson Beneficiary Deed to Musil Burris, (easement noted), 2012,reception number 1046603, CLICK HERE
General Warranty Deed to Ed and Patti Zink, from Ida Kolb, 2005, reception number 920090
Deed to Ed Zink from Ruby Zink, reception number 675208
Deed of Trust to Ed Zink, from John and Ruby Zink, reception number 675209

Bargain and Sale Deed, Ed Zink, 2014, reception number 1087391

Supplemental affidavit for title to Grace Swanson’s property, 2012, reception number 1045992
Deposit Plat 2815 for Ed and Patti Zink's parcels

State law prohibits closure of public highways extending to public lands

C.R.S. 43-2-201.1

*** Current through all laws passed during the 2017 Legislative Session. ***
C.R.S. 43-2-201.1 (2017)
43-2-201.1. Closure of public highways extending to public lands – penalty

(1) Any person, other than a governing body of a municipality or county acting pursuant to part 3 of this article, who intentionally blocks, obstructs, or closes any public highway, as described in section 43-2-201, that extends to any public land, including public land belonging to the federal government, thereby closing public access to public lands, without good cause therefor, commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.

(3) Any peace officer of this state, as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S., has the authority to enforce the provisions of this section.

Map of Falls Creek Road with La Plata County tax map overlay

Map courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department.

Map courtesy of La Plata County GIS Department.

A USGS map of the Durango area from 1898.

A USGS map of the Durango area from 1907.

A USGS topo map of the Durango area from 1908.


Adverse Possession, as defined by Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, Steven Gifis:

A method of acquiring complete title to lands as against all others, including the record owner,, through certain acts over an uninterupted period of time, as prescribed by statute. 13 So. 2d 649, 650; 502 P. 2d 672, 682; 226 S.W. 2d 484, 486. It is usually prescribed that such possession must be actual, visible, open, notorious, hostile, under claim of right, definite, continuous, exclusive etc. 138 So. 2d 696, 699; 71 A. 2d 318, 320. The purpose of such requirements is to give notice that such possession is not subordinate to the claims of others. 244P. 2d 582, 584. Possession by a mortgagor is not generally considered to ripen into title through adverse possession because it is not notorious or hostile. 9 N.W. 2d 421, 426.

Colorado Revised Statutes, 2015, Title 43, Public Highways, page 104:

43-2-201. Public highways. (1) The following are declared to be public highways: (a) All roads over private lands dedicated to the public use by deed to that effect, filed with the county clerk and recorder of the county in which such roads are situate, when such dedication has been accepted by the board of county commissioners. A certificate of the county clerk and recorder with whom such deed is filed, showing the date of the dedication and the lands so dedicated, shall be filed with the county assessor of the county in which such roads are situate. (b) All roads over private or other lands dedicated to public uses by due process of law and not heretofore vacated by an order of the board of county commissioners duly entered of record in the proceedings of said board; (c) All roads over private lands that have been used adversely without interruption or objection on the part of the owners of such lands for twenty consecutive years; (d) All toll roads or portions thereof which may be purchased by the board of county commissioners of any county from the incorporators or charter holders thereof and thrown open to the public; (e) All roads over the public domain, whether agricultural or mineral.