River users have easier access to the Animas River at Oxbow Park and Preserve after a monthlong park closure because of construction.
The city of Durango announced that public access to Oxbow Park was restored at the end of the day Friday. Pedestrians will be able to access the park and river through an access point located at the north end of the park on Animas View Drive. Ongoing construction may require occasional temporary closures.
“The construction isn’t done, but we can provide that pedestrian access to Oxbow Park, which is what the community was looking for,” said Cathy Metz, Durango Parks and Recreation director.
Oxbow Park and Preserve is a 44-acre area along 1.7 miles of the Animas River in north Durango, with most of the land, about 38 acres, dedicated as a natural preserve for wildlife habitat.
The park also includes a boat ramp to access the Animas River and a beach. People were bent on accessing those features, despite the monthlong closure, which led to trespassing complaints and calls to the police.
“People were going to private property to get through the park and not go through construction activities,” Metz said.
The construction is part of an Oxbow Park River Access project. By the end of the summer, the park will have a picnicking area, restroom facility, parking lot and railroad crossing, Metz said.
People should not enter through the construction entrance. As an active construction site, it is important to stay on the provided access trail and outside of the construction zone to avoid construction personnel, equipment and activities, according to a city of Durango news release.
People are encouraged to use Animas River access locations at 33rd Street and 29th Street to avoid congestion at Oxbow Park. There is no public access to the Animas River via East 36th Street or Silverton Street, the release said.