Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Drop the ‘Horse Gulch Highway’

To the Editors:

The Horse Gulch area is the county’s most treasured resource of its kind for outdoor recreation. County residents, residing both within and outside of Durango city limits, are incredibly fortunate to have this beautifully preserved open space so easily accessible.  The proposal for a paved road, however, has the potential to have severe negative impacts on Horse Gulch and its values for residents of La Plata County. 

Most obvious would be the total destruction of Horse Gulch Road as we know it.  Horse Gulch Road is the route of tens of thousands of residents and tourists who hike, bike, run, and ski there each year.  It is the perfect example of an outstanding recreation area, away from development and traffic, yet easily accessed from the center of town.  The sacrifice of this wonderful place would be a heartbreaking loss to so many in our community.

Another serious negative impact would be to the efforts of the City and other entities to preserve open space and trail access. With the cooperation and generosity of landowners, the City of Durango and Trails 2000 have worked diligently to keep large portions of Horse Gulch as open space, and to keep its trails open to the public. Further progress toward these goals would be put in jeopardy with construction of a paved road in Horse Gulch. Landowners who might otherwise offer to sell or grant easements for conservation and trails could suddenly find development of their land much more attractive.

Proponents of developing the road assert that it would efficiently route traffic from downtown Durango to Grandview. This argument is very hard to accept, as the proposed route is much longer and much less direct than the existing Highway 550/160. A road in Horse Gulch is also not needed to accommodate future development on Ewing Mesa.  Any development there could be served with access directly from Highway 3.

I urge the county commissioners and county staff to cast aside any plans for construction of a road in Horse Gulch and to work together with the City for open space preservation and responsible development in La Plata County.

– Sincerely, Jon Broholm, Durango

The world’s scarcest resource

Dear Editors,

“Will The Next War Be Fought Over Water?” was the title of a Jan. 3 story on KSUT’s Weekend Edition of NPR news. Besides being struck by sadness when the story4

recalled to mind long discussions about these very issues in my high school science classes, here we are four decades later acting as though this is still some fresh revelation.

The story is about a new book that suggests many 21st century conflicts will be fought over water. In Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization, journalist Steven Solomon builds a case that water is surpassing oil as the world’s scarcest critical resource and that just as oil spawned wars in the 20th-century, we can expect the same and worse over fresh water resources.

Another thing the story got me to thinking about was that unspoiled fresh water resource at the headwaters to the Rio Grande River, Alberta Park. Yes, the same Alberta Park area that a Texas billionaire wants to bulldoze a “luxury village” of 8,000 or 10,000 people into. An effort he is trying to enlist Congressman Salazar into supporting.

For years now, I have been struck by how that vital water resource issue has been consistently ignored by the developer, boosters and elected officials alike. It’s such a strong article of faith that every time we turn on the faucet it will flow, that we totally ignore not only how that water gets there, but also ignore the many threats to a continued water supply. Sure, it’s easy for us up here near the source waters to overlook what an incredibly precious commodity it is. But, if you don’t believe it, go down to the Mexican border and watch the people on both sides struggling with a greatly depleted Rio Grande water supply. 

When will we as a people stop dreaming of, nay obsessing for, ever more luxuriant stuff and start getting real about what we have been doing to our Earth’s biosphere, that is, life-support system? Fragile, unmolested resources like the greater Alberta Park area to the lee of Wolf Creek Pass provide many critical biological functions that a clean sweet water river, its wildlife and its citizens require. When are we going to factor that into balancing wants vs. needs?

Oh I know, boosters and some local officials are quick to point out that: “It’s about the economy, stupid.” But, isn’t the issue more complicated than a simplistic jingle that implies that building something, anything, so long as we

can put a few people to work — even if it’s only a couple seasons — is good for the community? How does that help the young families who are trying to think in terms of decades? 

There is a great deal of avoidance going on these days. No one wants to look our growing economic/biosphere monster in the eye. But, all indications are that society is coming to the end of a creation-old spendthrift era. The incoming economic battle cry is: “It’s about the sustainability, stupid!” And the essence of sustainability is protecting our resources, especially water.

So, if you want to think globally and act locally, please get informed. A good start is “YouTube.com/westdavies” where you’ll find “Wolf Creek Village Presentation from Colorado Wild.” Davies is broadcasting a recent presentation by Ryan Bidwell from Colorado Wild — nine parts and information packed. Or, visit www.friendsofwolfcreek.org . Or, visit http://citizenschallenge.us . Then, let Congressman Salazar know that you believe protecting clean, fresh water is more important than a parasitic white elephant.

– Peter Miesler, via e-mail

A postal bailout?

To the editors:

The U.S. Postal Service “is an independent agency of the United States government.” Rumor has it that a bailout is being considered in Congress at this time. After

the continued rise in the cost of postage and the announcement of cut in service, it is time to get out the pen and paper to express your opinion or start asking questions. Several months ago, TV news reported that property was being bought by the USPS from employees who wished to transfer and sold taking losses on same. This should be questioned. Huge USPS edifices such as the one in Benton, Ark., would make one wonder as to their need for a bailout.

Postal employees in Cortez and Mancos are outstanding – efficient, courteous and well-educated as to their work. Could it once again be a CEO problem? The pen is mighty!

– Evelyn Stacer, Mancos



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