Group takes up rally reins
A new group will run and a new name will grace the annual Labor
Day weekend motorcycle rally. Organizers of the Rocky Mountain
Rally have reached an agreement with the Southern Ute Indian
Tribe to lease the Sky Ute Event Center for a “professional
event”on Aug.28-Sept. 1 of next year.
Dan Bradshaw, of Farmington, and Creig Wallace, of Aztec, will
be taking up the rally reins next year. The two have budgeted
a hefty $1 million for the event and hope to attract the professional
motorcyclist to a larger rally, featuring top entertainment.
“The rally’s been a good rally,” said Bradshaw.
“I don’t want to lead people to think that past
organizers did a bad job. I think it just got too big for them
Bradshaw said that his group plans to host a top-notch, cleaner
event that will make Four Corners communities proud.
“We want to really clean it up,” he said. “Most
of these people who ride motorcycles are making above $75,000
in income and are over age 30. Those are the kind of people
we really want to put on a rally for.”
Bradshaw said that the Rocky Mountain Rally hopes to bring
20,000 motorcyclists to the region. However, he said that numbers
could go higher.
“We hope to bring 20,000 people,” Bradshaw said.
“If we get up to 30,000 we will be ecstatic. It could
go as high as 50,000. Our goal is to bring money into the community.”
U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., founded the Iron
Horse Rally 10 years ago. Over time it has attracted as many
as 30,000 participants. However, greater participation also
meant greater liability, and six accidental deaths marred the
2000 rally. This year, an unofficial rally took place after
negotiations between the tribe and event organizers fell through.
Airport may close for repairs
The Durango-La Plata County airport will likely close for the
month of May for some much-needed repairs. Airport officials
are looking at using the airport’s taxi strip in place
of the landing strip, which will be torn up. “We are looking
at other options,” said Ron Dent, airport manager. “Whether
those will work will have to be determined.”
Chief among the options is using the single-strip Airport’s
taxi runway to land planes, as crews mill and repair subsurface
deterioration on the main strip. Dent said that the construction
must happen at that time of year because of its favorable temperatures.
“People don’t seem to understand why we’re
doing it when we are, and the answer is weather,” he said.
“It’s tough to shut the runway at any time, and
normally we’d do it during the slow times in April.”
The airport had planned on a routine repaving initially, but
significant erosion was discovered. A new drainage system will
be included in repairs to prevent such rapid deterioration in
the future. The total project cost is estimated at $5.5 million.
“We haven’t had to shut the runway down since 1989,
and hopefully, we won’t have to close it for a long time
after this,” Dent said.
SanJuans to see more lynx
Division of Wildlife officials have approved a controversial
plan to release as many as 180 Canada Lynx in the San Juan Mountains
over the next six years. The Colorado Wildlife Commission approved
the plan Nov. 15 in hopes that more animals would increase the
odds of reproduction among the endangered animals. Division
of Wildlife spokesman Todd Malmsbury said one of the trickiest
features of the plan was creating a mechanism for punishing
people who knowingly kill lynx and protecting those who do it
“There’s an agreement that we had to work out for
what procedures will be in place for protecting people who accidentally
kill a lynx,” he said.
Malmsbury noted that lynx are relatively small animals and
only in “very, very rare situations” have killed
livestock, and then only sheep. He offered potential hunters
or ranchers a good maxim for avoiding confusion, saying, “Don’t
shoot a bobcat with a collar on it.”
The division released 96 lynx in the San Juans between 1999
and 2000 and believes as many as 53 still survive. “We’ve
learned a great deal,” said Malmsbury. “We’re
literally writing the book on this. And we think there is a
reasonable chance that we can reestablish a lynx population
However, as far as the division knows, lynx have yet to reproduce
in the San Juans. “We have not seen any young lynx,”
Division biologists believe that roughly 50 animals living
in a 10,000-square-mile area is the reason for the lack of young.
There is hope that adding 180 new animals to the mix will encourage
more favorable odds. If the division does not see kittens following
the new reintroduction, it says it will give up the effort.
County seeks road solution
La Plata County is looking at ways to make pedestrian and bicycle
traffic safer along Junction Creek Road. In an upcoming open
house, the county will present the findings of a recent study
on options for nonvehicular traffic along the busy corridor.
Reed Ross, a resident of the Falls Creek subdivision concerned
about the safety of Junction Creek Road, successfully lobbied
La Plata County to begin a study of nonmotorized traffic on
the road. Undertaken by Sugnet Environmental Inc., the year-long
transportation study was jointly funded by the county and Great
Outdoors Colorado. It looked into the options of adding trails
along either side of Junction Creek Road as well as widening
the road, and concluded that environmental and private property
issues prevent any possibility of building trails adjacent to
“All roads lead back to the road, so to speak,”
says Sean Moore, Sugnet Environmental project manager. “I
think everyone involved anticipated that the solution would
be a separated trail, but the environment, engineering and property
acquisition made it so it was not feasible. The practical solution
is to improve the safety by widening the road.”
The county will host an open house on Sugnet Environmental’s
findings Monday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Animas Room of
the La Plata County Fairgrounds. A hard copy can be obtained
by calling 382-6363.
marchers go to the top
Last week, the recently formed Southwest Colorado Peace &
Justice Coalition presented position statements opposing war
in Iraq to U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., and U.S. Sen. Ben
Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo. The presentations were made largely
in response to a recent statement by McInnis that protesters
have not formulated articulate alternatives.
“The big thing was to respond to McInnis’ statement
in a KSUT interview where he essentially derided any of us who
had been in the march and rally on Oct. 26,” said Denis
Stratford, of the coalition.
During a late-October peace rally, roughly 800 people marched
in Durango in opposition to war in Iraq. Stratford noted that
McInnis referenced rally attendees as “those sign-carrying
“We are definitely still wanting to get our message heard
and feel that it is our representative’s duty to carry
that message to Washington D.C. for us,” said Stratford.
The coalition was in place prior to the Oct. 26 march and was
organized by Kalin Grigg and Dawn Farrington. The group’s
primary current purpose is opposing an unjust war in Iraq.
– compiled by Will Sands