Simple, poetic: City meets to rename park

It’s ‘Oxbow Park and Preserve’ as suggested name for Cameron-Sterk property

“The Beach” sounded much too rowdy and was only put on a list of possible names for the Cameron-Sterk conservation area for the satisfaction of crossing it off later.

Other names like “preserve” and “reserve” were much too stuffy for some. Variations of Animas Riparian Park and Animas View River Park were just not distinctive enough for a city with a lot of parks along its main river.

Finally, the emergence of a dark horse, or more accurately the collar of a draft animal, corralled the prize of namesake of the 47-acre open space just north of town, purchased in 2012 for $1.225 million.

“Oxbow Park and Preserve” was the unanimous recommendation of the city’s two advisory boards for Parks and Recreation and Natural Lands Preservation on Wednesday.

The proposal will now go before the Durango City Council on Tuesday for possible adoption.

Jerry Zink, the president of the La Plata Open Space Conservancy, suggested the name as recognition for how the river loops and meanders, looking like a bow around the neck of cattle. These oxbows often become ponds cut off from the mainstream until reconnected by flooding.

The name seemed simple but poetic. Peter Schertz, a member of the Parks and Rec board, said he liked it for the “geographic context.”

The City Council had asked the boards to reconsider its original proposal, Animas View River Park, because of feelings that it did not give enough recognition to conservation.

The area to be possibly called Oxbow is open for hiking, but just a few acres along the river will be developed over the next few years with an extension of the Animas River Trail, a boat launch, rest rooms and parking.

Connie Matthews, a member of the Natural Land Preservation board, thought adding “preserve” did set a tone of respect. Others thought “preserve” would distinguish it from the kinds of city parks with ball fields.

Bill Zimsky, a member of the Parks and Recreation Board, was not put off by the request to reconsider the name.

“It’s not the first time my advice has been rejected,” Zimsky said, joking. “I have been married for 16 years.”