Trails 2000 names its new director

A long-time advocate for trails and cycling will be filling big shoes at the helm of the local advocacy group Trails 2000. After reviewing more than 50 qualified applicants, the Trails 2000 Board of Directors has hired Mary Monroe as the group’s new executive director. Bill Manning, the organization’s current director, is moving to Denver to run the Colorado Trail Foundation and be closer to family.

Monroe comes to Trails 2000 with a broad range of experience in the outdoor industry and in advocacy. She spent 10 years on the International Mountain Bike Association’s Board of Directors and acted as the group’s vice president during a time when the organization was growing and succeeding with trail access in the Grand Canyon. She also served on the Bicycle Colorado Board of Directors and various Wisconsin trail organization boards.

“I have had the pleasure of working with a variety of land advocacy groups across the country, and I am most impressed with what the community of Durango and Bill Manning have accomplished with Trails 2000,” she said. “I am enthusiastically looking forward to working with the board, the members and the community to listen to their thoughts and ideas and to work on a long-term plan to continue and expand this great work,” Monroe said.

Monroe began her career as the sports marketing director for Trek, Fisher, Klein, Bontrager and LeMond. She was responsible for the Trek/VW mountain bike partnership and also signed US Postal Team and Lance Armstrong to ride Trek bikes. She then went on to focus on nonprofit management, serving as the chief marketing officer for USA Cycling and consulting with a variety of nonprofits in the outdoor industry including the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race and the Women’s Wilderness Institute in Boulder.

Manning commented that Monroe is a perfect fit for the position. “We interviewed a variety of highly qualified candidates, and when we had the chance to meet with Mary and learn of her background and vision, I thought there couldn’t be a more perfect person for Trails 2000,” he said. “Having been so highly invested in this program, to know that I leave it in such qualified hands makes my departure much nicer.”

Daryl Crites, a Durango trail enthusiast and member of the Trails 2000 board since 1998, agreed that the choice became obvious. “Every time we met with the final candidates, I was excited as to what they could bring to the table for Trails 2000. Then we met with Mary, and I knew she was the person for the job.”

Monroe, who now lives in Boulder, will be in Durango on Dec. 2-9 meeting with Manning, and her first day on the job will be Jan. 5. She is married to Travis Brown, a Durango native and cycling phenomenon. Monroe, Travis and their 2-year old daughter are relocating to Durango.

The public is welcome to meet Monroe this Sat. Dec. 3, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Steaming Bean. Manning and the Trails 2000 Board of Directors will also be on hand.


DMR sets opening day for Dec. 10

There is going to be a local ski season after all. This week, Durango Mountain Resort set Dec. 10 as its firm date for opening the 2005/06 season. Benefit Day, with proceeds of $10 lift tickets going to Trails 2000, has been rescheduled for Dec. 16.

Recent snowfall and optimal snowmaking output has enabled the resort to move toward a traditional front-side opening. The recent cold trend has had crews making snow for continual 24-hour periods and building a solid base. Their efforts were complemented by several inches of natural snow over the weekend. Forecasts for this week include another storm at week’s end.

With these things in mind, DMR is looking forward to good skiing Dec. 10.  

“We are excited to get the winter season going,” said Hank Thiess, DMR general manager. “With the cold temps and storms lined up out into the Pacific, we’re looking forward to a quality opening.”

On Dec. 10, the resort will also celebrate its 40th anniversary with free birthday cake and special giveaways. Opening day will also feature the Total Telemark Tour, a traveling festival to showcase and promote the sport of free-heel skiing.

Pre-sale tickets for benefit day are available at Albertson’s, City Market and Nature’s Oasis and will be entered into a raffle for a Purgatory season pass and a trip to Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California. Season passes will not be valid on Benefit Day.

Salazar takes on Wolf Creek proposal

The controversial Village at Wolf Creek received a challenge from a high place this week. After reviewing its scope and impact, Rep. John T. Salazar, D-Colo., has stated his opposition to the proposed development.

A Texas development company, headed by Clear Channel Radio baron and former Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs, has pitched the Village at Wolf Creek for 287.5 acres at the base of the Alberta quad. The “village” would include 2,172 units on 162 lots, 5,176 bedrooms and 222,100 square feet of commercial space including 12 restaurants, multiple hotels and a convention center. The plan has drawn steady opposition, resulted in several lawsuits, and is mired by charges of political bullying and collusion between McCombs and the U.S. Forest Service.

This week, Salazar offered up his opinion, saying, “At the end of the day, I just don’t see how a project of this scope and size can continue.” Charges of corruption aside, Salazar commented that the Village at Wolf Creek does not make sense and would damage local communities.

“The proposal would require many special concessions, without the promise of any real gain for the greater community,” he said. “Instead, the development brings the threat of dangerous roads, contaminated water, and harm to the very wildlife and landscape that makes this area so unique. I will not support a project that hurts the community I represent.”

In recent months, Salazar has met with representatives of the Wolf Creek Ski Area, the

Village at Wolf Creek developers, and the Forest Service. Salazar asked the Forest Service to provide formal answers to several questions, including plans to address transportation, water, and energy development concerns. After reviewing the Forest Service’s answers, Salazar arrived at his decision.

All eyes now turn to the Forest Service’s forthcoming decision and Final Environmental Impact Statement on whether they should grant McCombs access to the parcel. Originally, that decision was expected this week. However, the Rio Grande National Forest is still waiting on a biological opinion from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and expects a final decision in mid-January.


Local agriculture study kicks off

Local agriculture got a big boost recently. Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado received a $50,000 grant from the USDA to conduct a community food assessment in La Plata County.

Growing Partners is a partnership between the Southern Ute Community Action Program, The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado, La Boca Center for Sustainability, Southwest Marketing Network and Turtle Lake Refuge. The group is dedicated to implementing a sustainable local food program that reaches all incomes, ages and cultures.  

The assessment will be designed to identify the current needs and resources of the local food system, address the specific needs of underserved populations, and to encourage community participation. Populations profiled will include youth and schools, food producers, and underserved populations. For more information, contact The Garden Project at 259-3123.

– compiled by Will Sands


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