Thousands of people will join hands Thursday morning to celebrate the Animas River Trail and the spirit of community it reflects. It is a healthy effort that deserves broad support.
The seven-mile human chain the organizers hope to form will stretch the length of the trail, physically linking one end of Durango to the other. In that, it will physically mimic the trail and metaphorically replicate the unity, purpose and shared effort the construction of the trail required.
Plus, it should be fun. More than 7,000 – and perhaps as many as 10,000 – people are expected to take part. Crowding should not be too much of an issue if people do not all try to be at the same spot.
More than 5,000 students, teachers and staff members from Durango School District 9-R are expected to participate. That could be a great lesson in civic pride and community involvement. It also could leave a strong impression on young minds about how things should be done and how individual effort adds up.
But it will not get them out of school for the whole day. Durango Connect will be brief. Participants are asked to be on the trail between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. The actual human chain, with everyone holding hands or linking arms is slated for 10 a.m. and should last for just a few minutes, although it will need to last long enough for film crews to capture the event.
The event is open to all. There is no charge to participate, no registration to fill out and no attendance will be taken. Just show up.
Much also has been made of the fact that this event certainly will almost make the television news shows. The thinking is that Durango will come off as a healthy community and its image will get a boost.
That is probably true, but it’s not really the point. This is about Durango, its residents and our community. It is about life in a small and still-caring town, working together with neighbors and the value of long-term goals.
Durango Connect will not solve the city’s problems, let alone the nation’s. But then neither does wishing someone happy birthday or a merry Christmas, and those certainly can brighten at least a small corner of the world.
Durango Connect promises to be a happy reminder that for all our propensity to squabble, we also can come together as a community to create something wonderful such as the river trail. That is worth celebrating. Join in.