From Darkness To Light

26 May 2016

City staff paid $1,480 dollars to close two popular social freeride mountain bike trails on city lands

Posted by Adam Howell

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Last summer and again last April, the City of Durango sent out crews of city staff to its open space lands to close two popular freeride social trails–Kitty Charmer Trail in Horse Gulch and the Phoenix Trail in the Dalla Mountain Park.

Kitty Charmer Trail, was a freeride trail coming off of Raider Ridge that was known for its challenging yet enjoyable gap jumps.

Kitty Charmer Trail, was a freeride trail coming off of Raider Ridge that was known for its challenging yet enjoyable gap jumps.

This blogger put in a records request to the City of Durango for some information on the expenditures made for these work days. After paying the City Clerks office a hefty chunk of change for this information, a report on what the City calls “Stewardship Expenses for Social Trail Removal by City Staff”, it was determined that three city staffers spent 8 total man hours at a total cost of $148 for the “removal and revegetation” of Phoenix Trail on April 26, 2016.

Second on the list was the 76 man hours spent on the “removal and revegetation” of Kitty Charmer Trail on July 10-July 13, 2015 by 10 city staffers and a total cost of $1,331.84 dollars. Around half of the trail closure work on Kitty Charmer occurred on private property that is owned by Wyndham Resorts.

Common to both work crews was Sara Humphrey, Durango’s Parks, Open Space and Trails Crew Leader who, in April of this year, was getting paid $24.10 dollars per hour to close trails on city lands, among a variety of other trail projects assigned to her by Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz and other people.

Both the Phoenix Trail and Kitty Charmer Trail were approved for closure by two city boards following a trail inventory that was organized by Durango’s Community Development Director Kevin Hall.

The Draft Natural Surface Trails Analysis and Recommendations Report was approved by the boards with the condition that replacements to the trails slated for closure be built first.

Trail closures recommended in the report were approved of by the Natural Lands Board and the Parks and Recreation Board after receiving several letters and a petition of 267 signatures consisting mostly of local people who asked that the City keep Phoenix Trail and Kitty Charmer Trail open.

Medicine Trail and Chapman Hill Flow Trail were built as replacements to Phoenix Trail and Kitty Charmer Trail in 2015, according to Metz. Medicine Trail was a preexisting trail that was rerouted with the help of Trails 2000.

City expenditures for trail closures

City expenditures for trail closures

City expenditures for trail closures, click here for a pdf

Horse Gulch Special Emphasis Area-page-001 Dalla Mountain Park, NSTC analysis-page-001


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9 Responses to “City staff paid $1,480 dollars to close two popular social freeride mountain bike trails on city lands”

  1. Is “free ride” even a thing anymore? That’s like five years ago. At the shop We never ever have people coming in asking where the “free ride” trails are? In my opinion it’s time to put that term to rest for good. Now days people ask about flow and fun. I have know real response to this quiry other than all our trails are fun! The only desinatted flow trail over on Chapman hill is grown over and gone.


    Russell Zimmermann

  2. Wrong! All of our trails are not fun. And I know that you don’t ride most of the shitty ones for that reason.

    But that’s just you cheerleading as a bike shop owner, trying to be positive.

    Freeride is a culture, a style of riding, a sport that is still alive and kicking in Durango, Colorado.

    Your clientele, however, might not be into these types of features, events, or styles exemplified through tricks and finesse in the air.

    For instance, Russell, I rarely see bikes that are used for freeride being sold at your shop. Maybe I haven’t been in Durango Cyclery enough, but I’ve never seen a downhill bike, a dirt jumper, or a slopestyle bike sitting on the floor of your shop.

    Sure, you have some full-suspension all-mountain trail bikes for sale; that’s a good start. Trail bikes are not synonymous with big air that’s needed for some of the larger freeride features around Durango. Yes, freeride features in Durango do still exist. They’re not just at the bike parks.

    Maybe you don’t care about these types of freeride features? I don’t know? I saw you riding the Divinity Downhill Trail at Purgatory on a fat bike. Why? What reason do you have for resisting the purpose of that trail, which is to help riders become comfortable on their bikes in the air? Fat bikes are not going to help people reach their full potential in the air, but I understand why you like to sell them.

    Outside your shop, though, is a community of riders that enjoy the freedom of picking their own line down the hill, while having a breadth of jumps, drops, rollers, berms, log, rock and wooden features to play around on. That’s freeride whether you like it or not.

    Freeride. FREERIDE.

    It’s not going away. Maybe it doesn’t exist in your shop, but there are a number of events that embrace this culture such as Colorado Freeride Festival, Red Bull Rampage, Crankworx and other Red Bull events around the world.

    Pedal The Peaks bike shop embraces freeride, where riders can watch video clips of some freeride hucksters expessing themselves in the air while they wait to receive service at the counter.

    You don’t have to agree with my usage of ‘freeride’, Russell, but freeride is here to stay.


    Adam Howell

  3. Goods points Adam. So which trail in Durango is a freeride trail?


    Russell Zimmermann

  4. There are trails on city and federal lands that have freeride features on them. Should I tell you which ones they are so that public officials have an idea for where to send out crews to start dismantling them due to their unapproved status? No, I should not.

    If there were official channels for people other than employees of Trails 2000 to take for the creation of freeride trails or features, then it wouldn’t be a problem for people to go through those processes to plan them out in a public setting.

    So the cycle of creating freeride trails and features continues in a clandestine environment, as it was for the creation of Kitty Charmer and Phoenix Trail.

    Outside of the realm of secret trails that have these features are the flow trails that Trails 2000 worked on over the past couple of years. The trail crew leaders of Divinity Downhill Flow Trail and Chapman Hill Flow Trail would most likely disagree with my labeling of their optional jumps, drops, berms, rollers and wallride as ‘freeride’ features.

    Even the drops and jumps on Medicine and Snakecharmer Trails I would say are freeride features, much to the contrary of what leaders at Trails 2000 would prefer to call them instead–‘progressive.’

    Tell me something, Russell. At what point does a progressive feature no longer become progressive? Is a 5-foot unrollable drop on a mountain bike ‘progressive’? How about a 20-foot gap jump with dire consequences for the rider if they case the landing? Should our community be endorsing the creation of these types of features through a public planning process, or should it continue in secret?

    Either way, I don’t expect most people to agree with my use of the word ‘freeride’, and quite a few have no clue what I’m talking about.


    Adam Howell

  5. So Adam let me get this straight. You know and maybe even made secret trails? How does this help anybody but a few riders? I totally get what your skill set requires but you leave me at a loss for what your actions will do to help bring riders of your calliber to want to come to Durango and ride? And also I don’t own Durango Cyclery anymore.


    Russell Zimmermann

  6. I know of secret trails, but it does not mean that I made them. They are everywhere.

    You can say that secret trails only benefit a few riders, but I don’t agree with you, and there is no other alternative for those types of riders, locally. Again, there are no official channels for getting a trail project approved, unless your name is Mary Monroe Brown, or you are another employee of Trails 2000.

    What makes you think that a rogue trail builder in Durango wants to attract other riders to it? That could result in the trail being destroyed by officials, who, from the beginning, would disagree with its approval for construction.

    Why don’t you throw up your arms in protest over illegal trails that were built by rock climbers all over Sailing Hawks?

    It sounds like you specifically have a problem with freeride mountain bike trails and features.

    Maybe you could offer an alternative for aspiring freeride trail builders instead of just telling them to stop and appreciate what public officials have to offer?


    Adam Howell

  7. Russell, one of your former employees was responsible for building a secret trail in Horse Gulch with an awesome freeride feature.

    Isn’t that kind of hypocritical of you to be chiding anyone for building secret trails on public land, when you employed such a person?

    It’s kind of like yelling at your kid for smoking, and then lighting up right in front of them.


    Adam Howell

  8. My latest trail proposal ignored by Trails 2000, then rejected by City of Durango official:


    Adam Howell

  9. Blogger asks City officials for permission to build freeride features, denied for a third time:


    Adam Howell

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