From Darkness To Light

18 Apr 2020

Support for electric bike access from previous owners of Overend Mountain Park

Posted by Adam Howell

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Two previous owners of the city of Durango’s Overend Mountain Park support allowing e-bikes on Durango’s natural surface trails.

Ed Zink voices support for an e-bike trial on Durango's soft-surface trails.

Ed Zink voices support for an e-bike trial on Durango’s soft-surface trails.

Before Ed Zink died, he voiced support for allowing a trial period for e-bikes on Durango’s soft-surface trails. Specifically, his comments at a joint advisory board meeting about e-bikes on 10/24/2018 supported a trial.

“I’ve been selling bicycles on Main Street Durango for 50 years, and I’ve seen lots of changes. I can remember when mountain bikes first came out and the immediate reaction was, ‘we don’t want any of those.’ For the gentlemen interested in facts, e-bikes in Durango are selling at 5 or 6 times more in 2018 as they did in 2017. So the public is obviously endorsing these. I thank you all for the lengthy study you made. I encourage you to follow the staff recommendations. As soon as you get that finished, take a deep breath and let’s start a study on soft-surface trails, too. Thank You.” [24:20-25:30]

In 1993, Ed Zink was the President of Falcon Heights Inc., a General Partnership. The company owned some of the land that is now Overend Mountain Park.

Ned Overend acquires land in 1993

Later, in May of 1993, Falcon Heights Inc. sold the land to Ned Overend, who explored the possibility of developing the land. Consequently, Overend quickly realized that the practice of land development was beyond his skill set, said Overend.

Ned Overend voiced support for allowing class 1 e-bikes on Durango's existing natural surface trails.

Ned Overend voiced support for allowing class 1 e-bikes on Durango’s existing natural surface trails.

Shortly afterwards, Overend sold the land to the city of Durango in 1995.

As part of that land purchase, the city of Durango acquired a matching grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).

Consequently, GOCO required the city to put the land under a conservation easement, which happened in December of 1995. Specifically, the conservation easements were signed between La Plata Open Space Conservancy and the City of Durango.

Moreover, recreational values are included in the conservation values of the conservation easements for Overend Mountain Park.

Also, motorized vehicles are not prohibited by the conservation easements for land in Overend Mountain Park. In contrast, city of Durango officials have inaccurately said that the conservation easements for Overend Mountain Park prohibit motorized vehicles.

To view that actual conservation easements held for city of Durango open space lands, click here.

Support for allowing e-bikes on existing city trails from Overend

In addition, Ned Overend gave support for allowing e-bikes on existing trails in Durango’s open space lands.

“To Mayor Youseff, Board Members, and City staff,” said Overend.

“I am an advocate for allowing class one ebike use on the city of
Durango’s soft surface trails system. As an employee of a company that
sells class one ebikes, I have extensive experience riding them on a
variety of trail systems across several states. I have discussed their
use with numerous park officials and trail users. The overwhelming
response is that there are minimal or zero conflicts with other trail
users. The best example to compare with Durango is Jefferson County
CO. Over the past two years of allowing class 1 ebikes on all trails
that are open to regular mtn bikes, they have not had one complaint.
The Park ranger supervisor for Jeffco Openspace is Martin Barwick.
Martin is happy to discuss Jeffco’s experience with ebikes with anyone
who contacts him (303-271-5893).

Many of the opposing views to ebike use are not based in fact and not
backed up by the existing data. Now, especially with the Covid 19
situation, people may be slow to resume recreating indoors for an
extended period of time. This is a good time to open our trail system
to more members of the community. I know it will be a city government
priority to rebuild the tourism market. Demonstrating that Durango is
an ebike friendly community will be an important economic step.

Will you please consider inviting Class 1 ebikes into the City’s
natural surface trail system?

Thank you for your consideration,

Ned Overend”

Possibly related reception numbers for recorded documents:

  • 647020, Warranty Deed, Grantor Falcon Heights, Grantee Ned Overend, 5/27/1993 [obtained]
  • 698479, Warranty Deed, Grantor Ned Overend, Grantee City of Durango, 12/12/1995, Right of Way [obtained]
  • 680687, Grantor Falcon Heights Inc., Grantee LPOSC 12/29/1994 [obtained]
  • 802683, QuitClaim Deed, Grantor La Plata Open Space Conservancy, Grantee City of Durango [obtained]
  • 779616, Grantor La Plata Open Space Conservancy, Grantee Leininger-FalconHeights LLC, 12/10/1999

Adam Howell is a writer who is on the city of Durango’s Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board. His reporting and commentary does not reflect or represent the views of the Board or the municipal government. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.

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