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Design around Grandmother Cottonwood tree

Thank you for creating a path connecting 32nd Street to Oxbow. The intended benefits are good, encouraging biking as transportation and inviting engagement with the riparian corridor. I also witness the incredible grief from our community from losing 33 elder trees and huge stands of willows along the Animas River.

An elder tree, Grandmother Cottonwood, still stands at the 32nd Street bridge. She is not in the way; she invites a better way.

May we give priority to life, to quality of life for all of our relations. May we protect elder trees and wild ecosystems. May our designs reflect the depth of connection we have to our identity of place. May we adapt for a grandmother wiser and older than any of us.

Elder trees keep our earth cool, keep water in the biosphere and trap water into the soil like a moist sponge. They sequester carbon dioxide, provide wildlife habitat, shade, beauty, peace and friendship. A concrete path does not.

The bottom line is Grandmother Cottonwood’s life is valuable and represents a path honoring relationships to roots growing here before us. May she tell the story to our grandchildren how she was protected by the Durango community.

The current design is the shortest distance between two points, a straight line. The actress Mae West once said, “The most pleasing distance between two points is a curved line.” Let us curve our plan for Grandmother Cottonwood, a vital member of our community who provides shady riparian habitat wisdom.

Katrina Blair