Fire & ice
The Ice Lakes Trail is remaining on ice for the summer. Last week, the San Juan National Forest’s Columbine Ranger District announced it is extending the closure of the popular area northwest of Silverton until Sept. 15. The closure was put in place after last year’s Ice Fire. In addition to the Ice Lakes Trail, the closure applies to the South Mineral Campground as well as lower Clear Lake Road (FR 815) and South Mineral Road (FR 585) from a new gate past the Goldenhorn camping area.
According to forest officials, numerous safety hazards still exist in the area, including falling trees, rocks and boulders. In addition, burnt soils devoid of vegetation and saturated by rain and snow are loose, unstable and prone to erosion, and mud- and rockslides. Summer monsoons are expected to only add to the instability.
The closure applies to all public users, including hikers, mountain bikers, snowshoers, skiers and OHVers. Violations of the closure is punishable with a fine of up to $5,000
For more information about this closure, call the Columbine Ranger District at 970-884-2512. A map of the closure area is available at: tinyurl.com/y8wr9huy
And speaking of fire and popular trails, some of the city’s outdoor recreation areas will be undergoing fire mitigation work starting Mon., June 7.
The work will take place on city-owned lands in the so-called “Durango Wildland Urban Interface,” including Overend Mountain Park, Dalla Mountain Park and Horse Gulch. Work will start on the Crestview Ditch, in the Mountain Park, where crews will thin vegetation.
“Reducing risk of fire in the Durango WUI is a high priority for our community,” Amy Schwarzbach, the city’s natural resources manager, said. “The Parks and Recreation Department has worked closely with fire experts to plan this work.”
The efforts are being planned by Fire Adapted Durango, a partnership between the City Parks and Recreation Department and fire experts. The thinning will be done by contracted sawyer crews and will follow Colorado State Forest Service guidelines. This latest round of thinning is the continuation of a multi-phase project focused on mitigating fire risk along the outskirts of town.
Trails and trailheads will remain open, but users should be aware that crews and vehicles will be in the vicinity. Signage will be in place to notify trail users that work is being done. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 970-375-7321 or go to: DurangoGov.org/FireMitigation.
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- Burned out
This should go without saying but open fires or flammable activity of any kind is a bad idea right now. Both the San Juan National Forest and La Plata County enacted Stage I fire restrictions this week. Open burning is banned on all lands in unincorporated La Plata County as well as national forest lands. The bans prohibit:
- Day drinking
- Fire & ice
- Slip sliding away
There’s something in the water. This week, the City of Durango announced the opening of the brand spanking new Wibit Aqua Park at Lake Nighthorse. Think of the interconnected series of blow-up play structures as a floating jumpy castle on steroids.