Animas River Trail
Animas River Trail North, 32nd Street and Animas River Crossing
The proposed connection of the Animas River Trail between Memorial Park and Animas City Park via a grade-separated underpass crossing of E. 32nd Street is scheduled for construction from July 2021 through June 2022. Following extensive community dialogue in early 2020 and purchase of private property in October 2020, a revised trail alignment has been developed that eliminates multiple pedestrian bridge crossings of E. 32nd Street, the Animas River and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad line. The trail alignment will pass under E. 32nd Street on the eastern riverbank and connect to Animas City Park via a new pedestrian bridge spanning 170 feet across the Animas River just north/upriver of the Emerson-Parks vehicular bridge and via an at-grade railroad track crossing integrated with the current at-grade track crossing of E.32nd Street.
The completion of the Animas River Trail North Extension will further expand the heavily used amenity within the Animas River corridor in Durango and fully connect Oxbow Park & Preserve to the greater public park network within the Animas River Corridor.
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Animas River Trail Background
The Animas River Trail is the primary community trail corridor that runs parallel to the Animas River greenway within the City of Durango. The trail corridor is the connection that links the north, downtown, and southern sections of the community together. The public planning process associated with extending the Animas River Trail north to Oxbow Park has been underway for decades. The City’s 2001 Parks, Open Space and Trails Master Plan and the more recent 2010 Parks, Open Space, Trails and Recreation Master Plan addressed this northern extension. During the development of the analysis specific to the extension of the Animas River Trail north between 2008 and 2012, the City held 17 public meetings to specifically vet alternatives for the northern extension of the Animas River Trail. In 2017 a public meeting was held with the kick-off of the final design for the preparation of construction documents for the trail project. Since that time, Parks and Recreation Department staff and consultants have worked with individuals residing adjacent to the trail corridor. The construction project includes extension of the Animas River Trail from Animas City Park north to Oxbow Park as well as improvements to the north end of Animas City Park and the development of Oxbow Park. The development of the Animas River Trail northern extension is partially funded by a $1,382,955 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.
The Durango Parks and Recreation Department initiated an extensive community engagement process in 2011 that resulted in the adoption of the Durango Animas River Corridor Management Plan in 2013. The development of the Durango Animas River Management Plan involved eight public meetings and during this public process the development of Oxbow Park river access was identified as the highest priority river access in Durango to improve. Immediately following the adoption of the Durango Animas River Corridor Management Plan, the City engaged the services of a technical design team to develop final construction documents to four river access locations, including Oxbow Park. There was significant community involvement, including an on-site public meeting in the development of the site-specific plan for Oxbow Park. Final construction documents were completed in 2015. Oxbow Park is currently an unimproved river access area. The park improvements will provide a boat ramp at the river’s edge for small craft put-in. Improvements to the river edge will be made by stabilizing the shore with boulders and planting riparian vegetation. There will be a paved parking lot adjacent to Animas View Drive, restrooms, and picnic facilities.
The construction of the Animas River Trail northern extension and development of Oxbow Park are possible due to the dedicated 2005 and 2015 sales tax for Parks and Recreation Capital Improvement Projects.