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RVers take note: Twin Buttes a ‘little loud’ with highway traffic

If you want to ignore the sign here at the Twin Buttes trailhead, just know that the raven overhead is actually a surveillance drone. (Action Line)

Dear Action Line: I’m wondering if the Twin Buttes trail parking lot is the new RV homeless camp? There seem to be more and more RVs camping here. The sign on the north wall says “No camping,” but that just means right there I guess. It’s the only campsite west of Durango listed on ioverlander.com. Who owns that property? – Bill Koons

Dear Bill: Action Line is floored – even shocked! – to learn there is information online that might not be quite accurate. This is a revelation. That means we will now have to depend on 24/7 news channels for all our factual information. Thank our lucky stars for 24/7 news channels.

Known on ioverlander.com as “Twin Buttes MTB Trail Parking,” this “informal campsite” is supposedly pet friendly, big rig friendly and has toilets. This dirt lot is a “Little loud with the highway traffic but good place if you’re in a pinch.”

Overlanding has become a big thing. It is defined as “backpacking out of a vehicle,” or “self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal.”

Oh, sorry, was Action Line snickering out loud about Twin Buttes being a “remote destination”? Oops.

You have to admit, “overlanding” at the Twin Buttes lot is kind of comical. The “toilet” is either over at the gas station, behind the concrete barrier or behind a tree up the hill a ways. That’s something the landowner, Twin Buttes Metro District, is not overly excited about.

Steve “Willy” Wilson, the district’s chief financial officer, said a few vehicles seem to be overnighting there fairly regularly as word has spread on ioverlander.

“Truly, it’s a day parking lot,” Wilson said. “It’s not for overnighting. There aren’t any facilities. … It’s for mountain bikers to use, then to go on their merry way.”

As Twin Buttes began its development process more than a decade ago, it worked with the city of Durango and Durango Trails to create a network of public trails. Mountain bikers are the most frequent user, but you’ll find hikers and runners there, too. Under an agreement with the city, the trail parking lot was created on metro district land in a dirt lot now sandwiched between Animas High School and the Speedway gas station.

Wilson said that so far the metro district hasn’t been proactively policing the lot. And he added some good news for all you trail lovers: The district has plans to build more trails at some point.

Back to ioverlander.com. Action Line was a bit stunned to look at the map and see the other locations suggested for overnighting. It is comforting to know that when we residents can no longer afford homes here, we might be able to cruise around in our RVs and campers and be squatters like back in the Hooverville days.

Dear Action Line: Question from South of the Border – New Mexico, that is. But an answer from the Colorado side of the border should suffice. When there is a vehicle accident, who is actually responsible for all the debris cleanup?

In most cases the large pieces are picked up, but often lots of small debris (sharp plastic pieces, screws, etc.) are left behind that can surely puncture a tire, or if someone swerves to miss it they could create another accident.

It used to be that tow truck drivers carried a broom and a 5-gallon bucket for such and did an excellent cleanup job, but that doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. When the new roundabout fully opens in a year or so at Grandview, we will all want to be sure who is responsible. – Bust and Broom

Dear Bust: Everyone knows what happens when there’s an accident. The person in charge of cleaning it up is … the … uh … How about that: Action Line has no idea!

Fortunately, Action Line can ask others and then self-assuredly flaunt the answers. For this question, the contact was local Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jonathan Silver. City police and sheriff’s officers deal with this situation to some degree as well, but highways are where the real action is.

Technically, the answer here is fairly clear-cut. The way it’s supposed to work is the State Patrol calls a rotating list of towing companies, who take care of the vehicles and clean up the car carnage.

However, particularly when a commercial motor vehicle is involved – semitrailers, buses, etc. – things can get complicated. The issue is that the towing company is paid for cleanup by companies insuring the wrecked cars. But sometimes vehicles involved are not insured, or the responsibility for cleanup cost is fought by or between insurance companies. Also, cleanup costs have risen – as much as $30,000 to $40,000 if an 18-wheeler is involved, Silver said – and towing companies are hesitant to clean up something for which they may not get paid.

There’s also a jurisdictional issue. In a recent case, Silver said, an uninsured motor home rolled and came to rest on private property south of town. The driver couldn’t pay to have the motor home removed, so it became the property owner’s problem. Eventually, the Colorado Department of Transportation worked out a deal with the property owner to have the unsightly wreckage removed.

Silver, incidentally, noted that Farmington Hill currently causes all kinds of problems when icy and believes that, although there may be some confusion with the new roundabout, which will of course bypass the current hill, it will actually improve the accident situation overall.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Spot quiz: So who’s responsible for cleanup if an RV crashes at a place suggested by ioverlander?

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