Labor Day Weekend Harley parade returns to Main

Following a two-year hiatus, Harley Davidsons will again rumble down Main Avenue over Labor Day Weekend. The parade of motorcycles is set to return Sept. 5 under the heading of the “Motorcycle and Classic Car Parade.” The event is being held in conjunction with Ignacio Bike Week/Four Corners Motorcycle Rally and with support of the Durango Business Improvement District and the Durango Area Tourism Office.

The resurrected parade has been designed to include a full morning of activity in Downtown Durango. On tap will be a burrito breakfast benefiting veterans; tribal blessing and special presentation by wounded Army Specialist BJ Jackson; classic car display; and back-to-back parades along Main Avenue of classic cars and motorcycles. Flyovers from the La Plata County Civil Air Patrol will precede both the classic car and motorcycle parades.

 “Durango has been interested in hosting an event during the rally weekend for several years, and this year the City of Durango is pleased to have the opportunity to revive the parade,” said Bob Kunkel, the city’s central business district development manager. “Thanks to coordination with the Ignacio Bike Week committee, we’ve been able to add new components, so it won’t be ‘just’ a motorcycle parade. There will be a lot going on downtown.”

Building Homes for Heroes, an organization dedicated to recreating home life for U.S. soldiers who have been injured during service, will be the recipient of proceeds from the morning’s activities.

 “This is a great opportunity to support our veterans,” said John Wells, BID presiding officer. “We encourage everyone to come on down for the burrito breakfast at the Transit Center and take a moment to appreciate all those who have been injured in defense of our country.”


Local land trust earns accreditation

Chalk up another one for open space preservation in the region. Last week, the La Plata Open Space Conservancy was awarded national accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance. The endorsement is a mark of distinction in land conservation and a sign that La Plata Open Space is among the nation’s best land trusts.

The Conservancy was awarded last Wednesday along with 11 others, making a list of only 104 accredited land trusts in the country. At the same time, there are currently more than 1,500 local and regional land trusts in the United States. The honor means that La Plata Open Space can display a seal indicating that the organization meets national standards for excellence, upholds the public trust and ensures that conservation efforts are permanent.

“Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn.

The honor will also serve as a springboard for the La Plata Open Space Conservancy, according to Director Kathy Roser. “The rigorous accreditation process has inspired La Plata Open Space Conservancy to thoroughly examine and improve upon every aspect of our operations,” she said.

The accreditation is particularly significant in light of recent revelations about phony land trusts, bogus appraisals and illegitimate conservation easements in many parts of Colorado. “In Colorado, which unfortunately has seen more than its share of questionable land trusts, national accreditation is all the more important in setting legitimate land trusts apart and above, and establishing and maintaining land trust credibility,” Roser said. “National accreditation gives landowners, land trust members and supporters, and the general public confidence in our commitment and our ability to save land forever.”


Sustainability forum set for Durango

Sustainability will become more than a buzzword next week in Durango. Durango has been selected as one of eight regional host cities for the 2010 Colorado Sustainability Roundtable Series, organized by the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado. The Roundtables bring together leaders from nonprofits, businesses, government agencies and educational institutions. During the afternoon event, they will share key issues and challenges as well as best practices and lessons learned related to sustainability.

The Alliance’s 2007 and 2009 Sustainability Roundtable Series found that sustainability is booming throughout the state, but that there is not a dependable resource for information sharing and collaboration. “We’ve found that what the people of Colorado want is a catalyst to come together and share information and a better infrastructure to maintain those relationships,” said Joanne Keys, executive director of the Alliance. “The Alliance is serving as that catalyst.”

The Durango Sustainability Roundtable will be held Thurs., Aug. 19, from 12:30-4 p.m. at the Durango Public Library. For more information, contact:

Durango Airport sets passenger record

The Durango-La Plata County Airport is breaking all the records. A total of 17,206 passengers boarded commercial airlines during July, exceeding the previous monthly record of 16,023, set in July 2008. So far this year, the airport has recorded 91,027 passenger boardings, an increase of 13.2 percent from the same period in 2009.

“We are encouraged with these results,” said Ron Dent, director of aviation. “The large numbers show that air service demand is very strong in the Four Corners region. The airlines have responded with low fares and increased service to meet that demand.”

Dent did add that increased volume was straining the facility. However, a new master plan for the terminal area is currently in the works to address these challenges and to plan for future expansion if the current trend continues.

“The airport is on track to handle more than 340,000 passengers this year” Dent said.  “The rapid increase in traffic is straining the existing facility, especially auto parking and the gate area.”

– Will Sands