The North Loop lives on
Katz family buys 190-acre Nordic Center property

The North Loop lives on

The Nordic Center covers 23km of trails on the eastern side of Highway 550 near Purgatory Resort. After a scare with developers earlier this year, local philanthropists Jan and Mark Katz have bought the property./ Photo by Jennaye Derge

Missy Votel - 08/02/2017

Luxury RVs are now in the rearview mirror of the Purgatory Nordic Center – this time for good.

Local philanthropists Jane and Marc Katz announced Wednesday that they have bought 190 acres of land in the Boyce Lake and Tacoma Village areas to preserve in perpetuity the Center’s trail system.

The Katzes, under the umbrella of JM Boyce Lake Land Holdings, bought the land from Durango Mountain Land Co.

“We look forward to working with Purgatory Resort, the Purgatory Metropolitan District and Durango Mountain Land Company to preserve and improve the existing trails, and hopefully expand and create new trails,” Jane Katz said in a news release.

In addition, the Katzes will be working with the Purgatory Metropolitan District on plan for the surrounding Community Park as well as other potential recreational and cultural uses of the rea.

With 23k of groomed trails, the Nordic Center is the only facility of its kind in the region, offering classic and skate skiing, snowshoeing and fat tire biking. It also offers rental equipment, lessons and a community center/lodge with bathrooms and other amenities. The Purgatory Nordic Center and Nordic ski trails are home to the Durango Nordic Ski Club, a nonprofit organization that helps train young athletes.

“Jane and Marc’s vision for the recreational potential of DMR’s Boyce Lake and Northern Tacoma Village lands is very exciting,” Gary Derck, CEO of Durango Mountain Land, said. “They will still have entitlement for future development if they ever choose to add some Nordic ski-in/ski-out residential amongst the trails, but they can take their time and decide the best way to maximize the recreational potential of the land.”

In March, local alarm bells went off when it was announced Derck was in negotiations to sell the land to a developer for a luxury RV park. The trail system is located on a mix of Forest Service and private land, with the northern part within San Juan County. Under the DMR Master plan, the area was slated for single-family homes, but San Juan County withdrew from the Master Plan a few years ago leaving the development options wide open.

The luxury RV park, proposed by Pogue Texas, would have put some 160 motorcoach sites and permanent “cottages” on 67 acres. However, a sticking point was bringing utilities and sewer lines 2 miles to connect the property to the Purgatory Metro District. Earlier this summer, it was announced that the deal fell through.