From Darkness To Light

22 Jul 2017

Progressive feature could have approval at reroute of Caps Trail in Horse Gulch

Posted by Adam Howell

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An upcoming reroute of the Caps Trail in Horse Gulch will incorporate a progressive feature using enhanced natural features on the new alignment, according to Joanne Gantt, the Administrative Assistant for the Durango Parks and Recreation Department.

Caps Trail

Caps Trail

Caps Trail is currently an overgrown, decrepit, eroded trail running parallel and in between Horse Gulch Road and the ridge on the Meadow Loop.

Trails 2000’s Executive Director Mary Monroe Brown pitched the idea for rerouting the Caps Trail to the City’s Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board at the April 10th meeting, saying that the existing Caps Trail is unrideable. Caps Trail is named after Cap Allen, she said.

At the July 10 meeting of the Natural Lands Board, I asked Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz for permission to build progressive features on the trail when it gets rerouted.

My reasoning for requesting to build features on the trail was that Caps Trail would otherwise be a redundant cross country trail that’s paralleled by cross country trails on both sides of it, where users can see other users to their right or left as they follow the trail. Moreover, Durango’s Community Develoment Director Kevin Hall has previously cited redundancy as a reasoning for mapping the closure of trails that are popular for cyclists.

The Board discussed the merits of the trail and the proposed features, with board member Michael Burke being the only opponent, citing the erosiveness of the soil in Horse Gulch. Burke also expressed safety concerns with the board encouraging cyclists to ride the trail, who he says will in turn will pose a hazard to hikers.

The Caps Trail reroute, laid out in red.

The draft Caps Trail reroute alignment, laid out in red. Illustration courtesy of City of Durango.

New Trails, Reroutes Correlate With Progressive Features

Roughly 90 percent of Caps is planned to be rerouted, according to a mapped-out reroute alignment. A portion 0f the alignment crosses a piece of land that’s managed under a conservation easement with La Plata Open Space Conservancy.

As a cycling advocate, I’ve asked the the City for permission to build bike-specific features with dirt on existing City trails on three previous occasions, all of which were denied by Metz.

Throughout the last seven years, on separate occasions, this blogger had requested permission to build optional dirt jumps on Raider Ridge, in Overend Mountain Park, as well as at the bottom of Sugar Trail. All of my requests were denied; the Sugar Trail request she denied unequivocally.

It seems that City officials are likely to avoid approving new progressive features on existing trails, unless the trail gets rerouted in a significant way first.

Earlier this week, Gantt sent out an email to the Natural Lands Board members explaining the plan for rerouting the trail:

“Hello Board Members,

Following the July 10 Board meeting, the Parks and Recreation Department and Trails 2000 staff walked the Caps Trail in Horse Gulch to review the concerns identified by the Board.  The trail maintenance project has been approved by the La Plata Open Space Conservancy.  The future trail project will include the following:

  • Erosion will be addressed on the existing Caps Trail and the reroute will be implemented to avoid a similar condition in the future.
  • Exposed former landfill junk along the trail will be removed.
  • The rerouted Caps Trail will incorporate a progressive feature using enhanced natural features on the new alignment.
  • Board Member Howell will be contacted by Sara Humphrey once the work on Caps is scheduled to commence.

Have a wonderful day!”

Photos of the existing Caps Trail from 7/10/2017:

IMG_5866 - Copy IMG_5867 - Copy IMG_5868 - Copy IMG_5869 - Copy IMG_5870 - Copy IMG_5871 - Copy IMG_5872 - Copy IMG_5873 - Copy IMG_5874 - Copy IMG_5875 - Copy IMG_5876 - Copy IMG_5877 IMG_5879 IMG_5880 IMG_5881 IMG_5882


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