Fri Mar 20th, 2015
Special to the Drum
Before I start this column I am compelled to issue a disclaimer. Aliens have not replaced my Fox News loving, redneck, right-wing brain, with a CNN News loving, liberal, left-wing brain. The reason for this disclaimer is I know my friends are going to think I have a new brain as I make the following statement. I am for renewing the half-cent sales tax approved in 1999. There, I said it, and I just heard my friends gasp for a breath. Actually, it sounded more like a loud clap of thunder.
The reason I support the renewal of this tax is that part of it was used to build, and now maintain, the Animas River Trail (tArt). I was reminded of that when I read Marjorie Brinton’s column of February 13, 2015. After reading it, I asked her if I could dovetail my column to her’s. She graciously said yes, and I suddenly thought I saw an easy way to earn my columnist fee. I would just take her column, change a few words, submit it to my editor, and then get paid. It didn’t work out that way.
In her column Marjorie did a great job describing what the sales tax paid for.
However, she did not mention how tART benefits those of us that fly fish. I visited with Cathy Mets, director of parks and recreation in Durango, and obtained some specific data on tART. The trail is seven and a half miles of a continuous and improved walkway that parallels the Animas River. Going from north to south it begins at 32nd. Street and ends at Dallabetta Park. For us old and out of touch folks that is the purple cliffs. Cathy told me there are plans to extend tArt north to Oxbow.
Now, I am sure when all the discussion was going on about the bond issue to fund the recreation center, all the ball parks, and tART, not much was said about the fly-fishing opportunities that would be created. But the opportunities are huge.
Having tArt allows a fly-fisherwoman to park in numerous places and have easy access to the river. It helps us old guys, too. tART also allows fly-fishermen to give the appearance of getting lots of exercise. I can park, briskly walk along the trail, and access my favorite spot, fish upstream all day, and then walk briskly back to the truck.
In that scenario I have exercised my arms and shoulders by casting all day. I have also worked on biceps landing big fish. The brisk walk back to my truck created the cardiovascular work I needed. tARTis a win-win for fly-fishers.
I also have to say when compared to other river trails I have been on, tART is the best. For instance, have any of you ever fly-fished the Blue River in Silverthorne, Colorado? There are great sidewalks along the river. The side walks also wind around and through a huge discount shopping area.
So, instead of the beautiful view enjoyed by fly-fisherwomen on the Animas, fishing beside the walkway in Silverthorne will get you views of restaurants and stores. Of course while fishing beside the Art you do see some retail stores, but the only people on the trail are those out getting exercise. Plus, during the summer the participants of the rubber hatch (rafters) ooh-and-awe while watching you land a big fish.
By voting to renew the sales tax that helped pay for, and now continues to keep tArt in good condition, you will have helped those wanting to stay fit while fly fishing. It’s also one of the reasons Durango is a great place to live.