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The mystery of County Road 206

“Unauthorized” visitors are warned not to go beyond this point on County Road 206. (Action Line)

Dear Action Line: Just past the Durango Tech Center a road goes north off U.S. Highway 160 up a canyon to a dead end. The lower part of the road is called Perins Canyon Drive and the upper part is called County Road 206. The other day I was riding my bike on what I thought was County Road 206 and I caught some major shade from one of the residents who claimed that even though it’s called County Road 206, it’s actually a private road maintained by the residents. If it is a county road, anyone should be able to utilize it, but it doesn’t make sense that the residents have to pay to maintain it if it is open to the public. I’m not trying to yank anyone’s chain, it just doesn’t make sense. – O. Penrodes

Dear O.: It’s always been in the back of Action Line’s mind to take a ride or drive up that road. Just to see what’s up there. Maybe it’s good that you did it first.

Those following the history of the world know that this isn’t the first time that there’s been a question about road ownership. In this case, there are apparently a few perspectives of access and ownership, and here’s what seems to be happening.

The road from the highway to the dead end is about a mile. At some point – maybe a couple of decades ago – the first part of County Road 206 and surrounding land was annexed into the city and that section of road became Perins Canyon Drive. The city section of road goes about a quarter-mile or so, and the still-paved road becomes County Road 206.

Another quarter-mile or so after that, several signs warn those thinking of venturing farther that they shouldn’t. One reads, “Private road for residents and guests only. No unauthorized use.” The road looks to have been repaved recently just beyond this point. The road continues a few hundred yards farther before the dead end at private land.

When you know all your neighbors and a stranger comes pedaling up, you might not invite them in for tea. But if it’s a public road, are you in the right to chase them away?

La Plata County doesn’t recall just giving away the road, but maybe struck a deal with the residents at some point on maintenance? Action Line could not confirm this.

“It’s not high on the priority list based on traffic count, so if they provide their own plowing I can’t dispute that,” said county spokesman Ted Holteen. “You’ll see (on the county geographic information system map) the road dead-ends into a couple of private lots, but the road up to that point is, in fact, public.”

So it would seem the public should have access without being yelled at, but the residents might have a different idea. So Action Line advises to tread lightly and carefully, if at all.

A clarification

The big body of water the city owns on College Mesa is officially Rogers Reservoir, not Jack Rogers Reservoir, as Action Line reported last week. Otha Rogers, whom everyone called “Jack,” was the city’s longtime public works director who retired in 2012.

The correction came from former city Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz. Good to see these former city administrators sticking together. Action Line remembers Rogers not only for his dedication to the city, but for his dedication to defense when playing hoops at the Rec Center. Rogers cost Action Line a lot of good looks at the basket over the years. But no hard feelings, just admiration.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Feel free to drive up Action Line’s dead-end road, and to receive a free glare for doing so.