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Sheer dredgery needed at Oxbow boat launch

The newly “de-bermed” Oxbow boat launch ramp, as seen Tuesday. Nobody was launching, but three guys were fishing (Action Line shooed them away), there were several walkers (ditto), and a family was starting a picnic (with small child, so they were allowed to stay). (Action Line)

Dear Action Line: The end of the concrete ramp boat “launch” at the Oxbow north of town was buried all summer. I realized how massive of an obstacle the sediment had produced when I watched a drift boater drive his trailer over the sand berm. He high-centered the trailer on the berm, then lurched forward with the boat bouncing precariously on the rails of the trailer. This launch is alarmingly well-used by all walks of life, from sunbathers, fishers, stand-up paddle boarders, rafters and more. This was the first year I have seen the river deposit that much sediment on the ramp, and I figured the city would eventually break out a snowplow to clear a path for boat launching and retrieval. – Feeling Sedimental

Dear Sedimental: People like going into and being around water. But why? Water is cold, and when some gets on you, your body gets not only cold but wet. Another advantage of staying on land is that you can’t easily drown.

So, Action Line wonders: Why does anyone want to do anything on the water?

The city of Durango was doing you a favor by allowing this access to potential danger to be slowly blocked off, but if you must have things back the way they were, then OK, let’s get ’er done. See if Action Line cares.

First, before we bother the Parks and Recreation Department, the quick back story.

People, mostly youths but not always, have been using the area at least for decades and probably centuries. “The Beach” off Animas View Drive has been a popular hangout for a long time. The city purchased the 44-acre site in 2012, and it is now officially Oxbow Park and Preserve.

Legal access was a bit of an issue at first, but that was settled as well. The Animas River Trail was extended to the site in fall 2020, the same time the boat launch opened.

This photo was taken around Nov. 2, before the city’s “de-berming.” (Courtesy of Feeling Sedimental)

Higher-than-normal spring runoff this year caused some sand to settle and pile up along the shore, and made the sand pile at the bottom of the ramp.

OK, now let’s bug Parks and Rec.

“The parks maintenance team plans to ‘de-berm’ the boat ramp this week,” said Sara Humphrey, interim Parks and Recreation director, on the morning of Nov. 7. “Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.”

Work was done later that day. Action Line did stop by a few days later and noticed that the sand wasn’t exactly dredged all the way to the concrete, but maybe that’s not an issue?

Action Line can’t take all the credit for smoothing out the ramp. This was done by the hardworking city staff members. So, Action Line will take only 80% of the credit.

Sound fair?

Dear Action Line: Speaking of Durango idiosyncrasies (see last week’s bumper sticker column), is it true the law requires new residents, upon crossing the city’s border, to get a bike rack, a roof rack, a dog and at least two bumper stickers within 48 hours? – Eagleray

Dear Eagleray: Sure, yeah, that’s right.

And your point is … ?

For confirmation, as if this is necessary – does everyone really not know this?! – Action Line contacted city of Durango spokesman Tom Sluis, who, it should probably be pointed out, is a former Action Line writer himself.

Sluis added some history, as well as a few things to watch for in the future.

“This is absolutely true,” he said. “The law originally required all new residents to simply possess a beat-up truck, 5-gallon bucket of rusty tools in the back and a dog in the cab before passage to our humble city was granted.”

Sluis explained that these requirements were changed because it led to “too many dudes running around” and “really boring parties.” At that point, a bike rack, roof rack and dog were required. The bumper sticker stipulation was added to adjust the demographics, “under the assumption that only women were refined enough to use words.”

But hang on. A code amendment is in the works.

“Now that Durango has been discovered by the outside world, additional changes to the law are about to be implemented,” Sluis said. “Since everyone in Durango is currently from California, Texas or Wisconsin, it will only be OK to make fun of Floridians.”

Furthermore, newcomers must show proof of owning multiple bicycle types, including, but not limited to: mountain, road, single-track, electric, cruiser or townie, gravel, fat-tire and beater. Same goes with skis, rafts, drinking glasses and bongs.

“Basically, all newcomers must be able to prove they are all that, at all times, for everything,” Sluis concluded. “We’re not messing around anymore.”

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Sluis neglected to mention that under the new code, anyone heard pronouncing the “L’s” in Vallecito or saying “Flor-uh-duh” in connection with the road will be subject to a $500 fine.