For decades, Durangoans have held their breaths amid various proposals for Horse Gulch: a golf course, a paved highway, a reservoir, housing developments, a gravel pit mine. Each of these endeavors would impact, to some degree, one of Durango's most precious and well-utilized recreational gems.
Here's an idea about how to preserve Horse Gulch for bikers and hikers, alleviate traffic and parking pressure around town, support downtown businesses and create a new entertainment venue for tourists and locals, all at the same time: Let's build a gondola.
On one end, passengers could board at the new transit hub being built downtown. From there, they could get off at a stop at the Fort Lewis College campus or continue over Raider Ridge and through Horse Gulch to the future metropolis of Grandview (Three Springs). Anyone who has parked at Mountain Village and taken the gondola into Telluride knows the joy of commuting by gondola. Wouldn't it be cool to live in a city with a cutting-edge, world-class mass-transit system?
A gondola would not disrupt, or at least not obliterate, the recreation or wildlife that abounds in the beautiful Horse Gulch drainage. Instead, it would provide a way for more residents to enjoy the scenery of this area. In addition, it would be one more attraction for tourists deciding where to vacation, and it would leave a lasting impression on those who do visit.
A gondola connecting downtown, the college and Grandview would reduce traffic congestion and parking problems in all three areas while giving a boost to businesses near the boarding stops. In addition to enhancing quality of life and attracting more tourism, I think a gondola probably would present environmental benefits, as well.
For the sake of economic vitality and quality of life, let's seek a better alternative than paving, drowning, developing or mining one of the most unique and precious resources in Durango.
Charlie Love, Durango