City moves to phase II of river work

With the long-awaited opening of the Whitewater Park on Friday, the City of Durango is now turning its attention from the river to on-shore developments.

Tonight, at 5 p.m. at the Rec Center, the City will host a public meeting on the topic of river access. Specifically, the meeting will focus on the design of put-ins/take-outs at: Oxbow Park and Preserve; 33rd Street; 29th Street; and Santa Rita Park. The meeting will include an overview of the opportunities and constraints of each site, and community input is encouraged. The designs will build upon the Durango Animas River Corridor Management Plan.

Following the community meeting , DHM Design will prepare two options for each access location. The designs will be reviewed at each location at 5 p.m. on these dates:

- Thurs., May 1 - Oxbow Park and Preserve River Access
- Mon., May 5 - 33rd Street River Access
- Wed., May 7 – 29th Street River Access
- Thurs., May 8 – Santa Rita Park River Access

A plan will be developed for each location and presented at a meeting Wed., June 11 at 5 p.m. at the Rec. Center.

Meanwhile, boaters are welcome to enjoy the new $1 million “Whitewater Park at Smelter Rapids.” Boaters can access the new park either upstream of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, near U.S. Highway 550/160 or near the restrooms at Santa Rita Park. However, boaters should be aware that intermittent shoreline work will continue, and they may be asked to move to another play feature due to construction. Furthermore, there will be no access or exit on river left, through the Whitewater Park. For the time being, portagers need to go around the Wastewater Treatment Plant and scouting should be done river right, from the Dog Park. No pedestrian traffic, including boaters, is permitted inside the shoreline construction area.

Construction of the in-stream features began in November 2013. The second phase – construction of the River Trail and shoreline amenities – begins this summer.

3 LPEA Board seats up for grabs

It’s once again time to shuffle the deck of La Plata Electric Association’s Board of Directors. Every year, one of three board seats in each of the coop’s four districts comes up for election. Local LPEA members should be on the lookout for ballots, which will be mailed Thurs., May 1.

LPEA CEO Greg Munro encouraged members to get involved in this year’s election. “We are facing challenges in the industry, and we will need to be thoughtful and conscientious as we explore our options going forward,” he said in a news release. “This election is very important. We encourage LPEA members to get to know the candidates in their district and vote.”

This year, only three spots are up for grabs, with no competition for the seat held by Davin Montoya in District 2 (south and west La Plata County.) Terms run for three years and LPEA members may only vote in their district. Candidates include:

n District 3 (City of Durango): incumbent Jeff Berman vs. Bill Waters

n District 4 (north and east La Plata County, including part of Bayfield): incumbent Joe Wheeling vs. Alison Dance

n District 1 (Archuleta County): incumbent Ken Fox vs. Bob Lynch

Ballots must be received by 4 p.m., Wed., May 21. FredrickZink & Associates, a Durango-based firm retained by LPEA, will tally the ballots using La Plata County’s ballot counting equipment. Members can also vote in person at LPEA’s Annual Meeting, Thurs., May 22, at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Registration for the meeting begins at 5 p.m. and anyone voting must do so prior to 6:30 p.m. Election results will be announced later that night.

Stay tuned to the Telegraph next week for all-inclusive candidate bios and position statements.

Meeting to address deer decline

It may not seem like it out your window, but mule deer populations are dwindling, not just in Colorado but across the West.

As such, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be holding a series of public meetings across the state to gain feedback on problems facing mule deer and possible solutions. A meeting will be held next week in Durango, on Wed., April 23, from 6-9 p.m. at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

Otherwise known as the “West Slope Mule Deer Strategy,” the resulting consensus will guide agency efforts to boost mule deer populations. According to CPW, mule deer numbers in recent years have declined below target levels set by wildlife managers and the public. The meetings are an effort to bring hunters, landowners, outfitters, biologists, wildlife managers, agencies, elected officials and members of the public to the table.

“The declining mule deer population is concerning to our agency and many stakeholders,” said Chad Bishop, Assistant Director, Wildlife and Natural Resources for CPW. “Due to a variety of factors that influence deer populations, we are looking for public feedback on an approach that brings together everyone’s resources.”

Meeting attendees will have the chance to meet agency staff, learn more about mule deer and provide input. Meetings will also be held in Loveland, Pueblo, Gunnison, Grand Junction, Eagle and Craig.

For more information, go to: .

– Missy Votel

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