Durango Telegraph - The threats to Horse Gulch
The threats to Horse Gulch

The greater Horse Gulch area – including the Telegraph Trail system – is a mix of private and public land and faces a variety of threats on both fronts.

- The land known as Ewing Mesa stretches high into the Gulch from the south and has long been discussed as the location for thousands of homes and a new golf course. That changed last fall when the 1,495 acres stretching down to Highway 3 were subdivided into 35-acre parcels. Fifty-three separate parcels could find their way onto the market in the near future and present the greatest danger to Horse Gulch to date.

- Growth in the Grandview area could also imperil Horse Gulch. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 2030 TRIP report, a bypass highway will be routed through the Telegraph Trail system and Horse Gulch. The byway would provide a direct connection between Grandview and Durango but would disrupt trails, fragment wildlife and alter the Horse Gulch experience.

- Resource extraction on Bureau of Land Management land also threatens the trail system. The 1,600 acres in Grandview Ridge – containing trails like Sidewinder, Cowboy, Sale Barn, South Rim and Big Canyon – are steadily being chipped away by two mining operations.

-Wyndham (formerly Fairfield) owns 20 acres on the south end of Raider Ridge. In the late 1990s, the Durango City Council accepted preliminary plans for a 106-unit time-share condo complex on the site. The resort shelved the plan because of access issues, but remains committed to the development.

- As an added twist, Fort Lewis College owns a great deal of land in the northern end of Horse Gulch and along Raider Ridge. Though the college has indicated that it has no immediate plans to develop or sell the property, it is not permanently deeded as open space either.

– Will Sands

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