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Meet the ‘Mother of the Colorado Trail’ at Arts Center

Gudy Gaskill will close out Women’s History Month

Whether you’re one of La Plata County’s numerous trail fans or want to hear from a woman of accomplishment, the final event in Women’s History Month is for you.

Gudy Gaskill, often called the “Mother of the Colorado Trail,” will be in town Tuesday night to speak at Durango Arts Center in an event sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center and the Colorado Hall of Fame. Gaskill was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.

“It’s an understatement to say that there would be no Colorado Trail if it weren’t for Gudy,” Colorado Trail Foundation former President Marie McDonald said when Gaskill’s induction was announced. “No person, man or woman, has ever single-handedly had a greater impact on the successful completion of a national treasure as Gudy has with the creation of the Colorado Trail.”

The Colorado Trail, which runs about 500 miles from Denver to Durango, took more than 15 years to create, with Gaskill leading the effort through countless boondoggles and obstacles, including budget woes and bureaucratic snags. The final result required the efforts of 10,000 volunteers from all 50 states and Spain, Germany, France, England and Japan.

For her efforts, in addition to her induction into the Hall of Fame, she has been honored by two presidents, Ronald Reagan and his “Take Pride in America Campaign,” and George H.W. Bush and his “One Thousand Points of Light” program. She has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, and musicians Judy Collins and Michael Martin Murphy were inspired by Gaskill and her efforts to compose songs.

Durangoan Susan Lander, who sits on the Colorado Hall of Fame board, said a goal of Gaskill’s appearance is to introduce more Southwest Colorado residents to the Hall of Fame and encourage them to nominate area women for the honor. Morley Ballantine, the late editor-in-chief of The Durango Herald and community philanthropist, was inducted in 2014, and she was the first woman from the area.

abutler@durangoherald.com

If you go

Gudy Gaskill, the “Mother of the Colorado Trail,” will speak at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Durango Arts Center, 802 East Second Ave. Tickets will be available at the door and are free to members of the Women’s Resource Center and $5 for nonmembers.

Visit www.coloradotrail.org to learn more about Gaskill and the Colorado Trail.

Visit www.wrcdurango.org to learn more about the Women’s Resource Center.

Visit www.cogreatwomen.org to learn more about the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and how to nominate a woman for inclusion.

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