Quick and Dirty
• Hermosa plan open for comment • Commuter Challenge June 21-28 • 'Raft for Hope' set for June 23

Quick and Dirty

Hermosa plan open for comment

The Hermosa Creek watershed is crossing one of the last hurdles down the long stream to protection. The U.S. Forest Service’s Columbine Ranger District has released the Hermosa Creek Watershed Management Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) for a 30-day public comment period. Comments will be accepted until July 10.

A brief overview of the proposed action will be offered at a public meeting at the San Juan Public Lands Center, 15 Burnett Court on Thurs., June 22, from 6-8 p.m. Forest Service staff will be available to answer questions.

After a handful of failed attempts to pass it through Congress, the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014. Once implemented, the legislation will protect more than 100,000 acres of the San Juan National Forest north of Durango with a 70,000-acre “special management area” and a 37,000-acre wilderness area. As part of the legislation, the Forest Service was required to release a management plan.

The released EA along with instructions to comment can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=43010. “The EA includes alternatives for overarching long-term Forest Plan level guidance and alternatives for specific project- level recreation and travel management decisions,” a press release from the Forest Service stated. The site also provides interactive maps that show different layers, compare alternative management strategies and allow users to submit comments on specific locations.

Most of the land, protected by the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Area, would remain open to mountain biking, grazing, some timber harvesting and motorized recreation. About 38,000 acres would be protected under the Wilderness Act of 1964, which does not allow for roads, mechanized recreation or mineral development.

Written comments on the EA can be submitted via email to: HermosaSMA@fs.fed.us or comments-rocky-mountain- san-juan-columbine@fs.fed.us, or via the map website.

Comments may also be mailed or dropped off at: Columbine Ranger District, Hermosa Comments, PO Box 439, 367 Pearl Street, Bayfield CO, 81122.

Commuter Challenge June 21-28

Break out the c-clips, bike locks and messenger bags. As part of Clean Commute Week, the City of Durango will once again be sponsoring its annual Business Commuter Challenge start- ing next Wed., June 21. The 6th annual event is a friendly competition among like-sized businesses to see whose employees can walk, bike, bus or carpool the most during the week of Wed., June 21 – Wed., June 28. Businesses can compete in tiny, small, medium and large categories, and winners in each category will receive the highly coveted commuter challenge trophy. To sign up, businesses must send an email with company name, total number of employees and selected team leader by Fri., June 16 to getarounddurango@durangogov.org. Team leaders are also required to attend a pre-challenge meeting at 5 p.m., Mon., June 19, at the Rochester Hotel’s Secret Garden to pick up team leader packets and go over challenge rules, tips and hints.

Winners of the challenge will be announced at the“Love Your Commute” award ceremony at Ska Brewing at 6 p.m., Thurs., June 29.

In addition to the Commuter Challenge, Clean Commute Week will feature: micro-bike tunes at the Farmers Market June 24; the Paul Wilbert Memorial Passeggiata and a Community Forum on June 26; the Pedal vs. Metal Challenge on June 27; Bike to Work Day including Get Connected trail commute team rides on June 28; the Love Your Commute celebration and awards on June 29; and Free Transit Days on June 26-30. For information, visit getarounddurango.com.

‘Raft for Hope’ set for June 23

Next week, locals can hit the water for a good time while helping a good cause. On Fri. , June 23, Mild to Wild Rafting will host the inaugural “Raft for Hope” fund-raiser for suicide-prevention and awareness.

Tickets for the charity raft trip down the Animas town run cost $25 for adults and $20 for kids and all proceeds go directly to local suicide prevention and counseling.

“Suicide in our home town is tragic and impossible to ignore,” Mild to Wild owner Molly Mickel said. “Although it can be an uncomfortable issue to confront, it must be done. We hope in this small effort of a rafting trip fundraiser we can help build awareness of this tragedy and help to provide support to those in need.”

The event, which is also sponsored by First United Methodist Church & Basin Printing and Imaging, runs from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. and starts at Mild to Wild, 50 Animas View Drive. For more info or to buy tickets, call 970-247-4789 or go to www.Mild2WildRafting.com.

In addition, if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1800-273-8255.

– John Rhoades & Missy Votel