Before I start this column, I am compelled to issue a disclaimer. Aliens have not replaced my Fox News-loving, redneck, right-wing brain with a CNN News-loving, liberal, left-wing brain.
The reason for this disclaimer is I know my friends are going to think I have a new brain as I make the following statement: I am for renewing the half-cent sales tax approved in 1999.
There, I said it, and I just heard my friends gasp for a breath. Actually, it sounded more like a loud clap of thunder.
The reason I support the renewal of this tax is that part of it was used to build, and now maintain, the Animas River Trail, or TART. I was reminded of that when I read Marjorie Brinton’s Feb. 13 column. After reading it, I asked her if I could dovetail my column to hers. She graciously said yes, and I suddenly thought I saw an easy way to earn my columnist fee. I would just take her column, change a few words, submit it to my editor, then get paid. (It didn’t work out that way; he also read Marjorie’s column.)
In her column, Brinton did a great job describing what the sales tax paid for. However, she did not mention how TART benefits those of us who fly fish. I visited with Cathy Metz, director of parks and recreation in Durango, and obtained some specific data on TART. The trail is 7½ miles of a continuous and improved walkway that parallels the Animas River. From north to south, it begins at 32nd Street and ends at Dallabetta Park. For us old and out-of-touch folks, that is the purple cliffs area. Cathy told me there are plans to extend TART north to Oxbow.
Now, I am sure when all the discussion was going on about the bond issue to fund the recreation center, all the ballparks and TART, not much was said about the fly-fishing opportunities that would be created. But the opportunities are huge. Having TART allows a fly fisherwoman to park in numerous places and have easy access to the river. It helps us old guys, too. TART also allows fly fishermen to give the appearance of getting lots of exercise. I can park, briskly walk along the trail, access my favorite spot, fish upstream all day, and then walk briskly back to the truck. In that scenario, I have exercised my arms and shoulders by casting all day. I also have worked my biceps by landing big fish. The brisk walk back to my truck created the cardiovascular work I needed. TART is a win-win for fly fishers.
I also have to say that when compared to other river trails I have been on, ours is the best. For instance, have any of you ever fly fished the Blue River in Silverthorne, Colorado? There are great sidewalks along the river. The sidewalks also wind around and through a huge discount shopping area. So, instead of the beautiful view enjoyed by fly fisherwomen on the Animas, fishing beside the walkway in Silverthorne will get you views of restaurants and stores. Of course, while fishing beside TART, you do see some retail stores, but the only people on the trail are those out getting exercise. Plus, during the summer, the participants of the rubber hatch (rafters) ooh and ahh while watching you land a big fish.
By voting to renew the sales tax that helped pay for and now continues to keep TART in good condition, you will have helped those wanting to stay fit while fly fishing. It’s also one of the reasons Durango is a great place to live.
Reach Don Oliver at email@example.com.