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The path to preservation

To the Editors:

As members of the City Council-appointed Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board (NLPAB), it’s timely for us to provide a quick update on Durango’s open space preservation efforts, especially given all the recent discussion about Horse Gulch and what is to become of it.

Since the mid 1990s, the City has preserved 1,575 acres around the community. A little more than 20 percent of this – 327 acres – was preserved through developer dedications as part of new developments such as Skyridge, Three Springs, Walmart and Escalante Crossing. The City has also received in excess of $3.5 million over the years from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to assist with the preservation and outright purchase of several properties. The soon-to-be-completed City of Durango Open Space Master Plan reinforces the community’s longstanding preservation priorities as the Animas River Greenway, the mountain backdrop/viewshed, and Horse Gulch. The plan also encourages more stewardship and sustainable practices on the lands that have been preserved.

Horse Gulch is a priority because it is beloved by many in the community. Its combination of proximity and remoteness makes it a special place. Its right on the edge of town yet the fortunate lay of the land shields the Gulch from noise, creating a surprising sense of tranquility for anyone who visits. One can be in the hustle and bustle of downtown one moment, and within minutes be enjoying the solitude and beauty that the Gulch provides.

The City has been very active with its preservation efforts in Horse Gulch. In 2009, the City acquired a two-thirds interest in 240 acres by way of two separate acquisitions and is now joint owner with La Plata County in a key part of the Horse Gulch meadow. The City also recently received two grants from Great Outdoors Colorado to assist with the protection of an additional 338 acres in 2010. Add to this the 160 acres acquired in the late 1990s and the area permanently preserved or soon to be preserved in Horse Gulch is close to 738 acres. This area encompasses most of the trails within the Gulch itself that Trails 2000 and its volunteers have worked so hard to develop and take care of over the years.

The preservation efforts in Horse Gulch have been made possible by a very supportive community. In particular, the 2005 voter-approved Referendum 2A which sets aside ¼ cent sales tax for open space, parks and trails, as well as from generous funding partners like GOCO. While there is much work yet ahead, rest assured that the City’s Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board will continue to work closely with the City Council and the community to ensure Horse Gulch remains a special place. Stay tuned.

– Paul Wilbert, chair; Connie Imig, vice chair; Mark Smith; Steve Whiteman; Ed Zink; Kim Fluty

Be a friend

Dear Editors,

As a former therapist who has helped individuals and families deal with eating disorders, I know that they are real, they are serious, the individual involved can die from this disease, and that they can’t be overcome alone.

If you know someone who you suspect may have an eating disorder because they are unhealthily thin, they have peculiar eating habits, or they have a distorted physical image of themselves, you need to help them get help in whatever way is necessary. Talk to their  parents of your concerns if they are an adolescent, talk to them and go with them to see a mental health professional or a physician if they live independently, do what is needed to get them the help they need.

Eating disorders are sneaky and insidious. Be a friend and don’t let your friend go another day on this path toward their death.

The National Eating Disorders Helpline for information and referral is (800) 931-2237.

– Julie Ward, via e-mail

America the beautiful

Dear Editors,

I’d like to recognize that this is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and share a few things about eating disorders.

I am a psychotherapist working in both Durango and Cortez, and I have been working with women with disordered eating/eating disorders for the last 10 years both in individual counseling and group counseling. I have witnessed the misinformation that is perpetuated about this potentially life-threatening disease.  

What I would like to point out to those who don’t know much about eating disorders is the fact that eating disorders ARE NOT ABOUT BODY IMAGE, they are about people (women and men, girls and boys) who are in a lot of emotional pain and it manifests as a physical problem – anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, over-exercising. Please do take it seriously if you suspect someone has a serious eating disorder. Tell them that you care about them and are fearful of the dangers of this disease and that you don’t want anything to happen to them. Ask them to see a doctor, nutritionist or psychotherapist (who knows about eating disorders) and get help of some kind.

If you suspect someone has an eating disorder or if you have an eating disorder and want some help but are not ready to see someone, then I suggest you get on the National Eating Disorders Association website: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-help-today/  or call their information and referral number at  (800) 931-2237. They have specific information on how to address someone who you suspect has an eating disorder.

Please take this week seriously and take some action.    

– Joanie Trussel, via e-mail

Different shades of patriotism

Dear Editors:I have utmost respect for all people who have served our country, something I did not do, but I remember my Daddy swinging at me when I came in his bedroom when I was sick in the middle of the night – he was still in World War II and was every night. I watched my friends from high school go out of their minds from Vietnam.

I have to disagree with the complaints about our athletes’ displaying our flag. Our Olympians are so proud to represent us. Maybe they didn’t shoot a gun to defend us, but they trained long and hard to make us proud. There is more than one way to say I’m proud to be an American.

– Poppy Harshman, via e-mail 




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows