Durango

Durango & Silverton
Joe Ross / CC BY-SA 2.0

Hotels and a tourist railroad in southwest Colorado are reporting stronger numbers this season after a wildfire slowed tourism and spending last summer.

The Durango Herald reported Sunday that ridership on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is so far even with 2017 numbers.

Officials say several thousand tons of mud and debris have come down the Missionary Ridge mountainside near Durango in the past couple of days.

The Durango Herald reports up to 10 feet of mud, silt and rock have buried East Animas Rd. as a result.

David A Mitchell / CC BY 2.0

Researchers studying wild black bears have found that eating human food could have a deep impact on the animals’ bodies.

Ecologists tracked 30 wild black bears around Durango, Colorado over a few summers and winters. They also tested their hair and blood.

They found that bears that foraged more on human food hibernated for shorter periods of time.

Officials in southwestern Colorado are planning to expand the Durango-La Plata County Airport.

The Durango Herald reports that the plan hinges on a $3.9 million purchase of land near the existing airport.

Durango city councilors are scheduled to vote on the purchase on Tuesday and La Plata County commissioners are scheduled for a vote on Feb. 12.

John B. Kalla / Flickr

A sprawling forest closed because of extreme fire danger in southwestern Colorado will re-open Thursday after getting steady rain.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Gov. John Hickenlooper has formally requested that a set of abandoned mines above Silverton be listed as a Superfund site. The request comes nearly seven months after an Environmental Protection Agency cleanup crew triggered a massive spill of polluted water from the Gold King Mine, turning the Animas River orange.

A Superfund listing may seem like a solution to the area's long-standing problem of mine pollution, but getting a site on the National Priorities List, EPA's official compendium of Superfund sites, is just the first step in a lengthy process.

EPA

Say the names of these Colorado towns out loud: Silverton. Leadville. Silver Plume. Rico. Bonanza. Ironton. The last two are ghost towns, but the names of each allude to a history that - most of the time - is nearly invisible to most of the state's residents.

That mineral-rich past burst into the public consciousness after Environmental Protection Agency workers mistakenly triggered a release of contaminated water from the Gold King mine just above Silverton. The rust-colored water, laden with iron and several heavy metals, including very high concentrations of arsenic and lead, oozed its way down the Animas River, through the town of Durango and into New Mexico and beyond.

In the spill's wake, many questions have been raised. One is, just how big is the scale of mining wastewater problems in Colorado? Another is, what is being done to clean them up?

Jonathan Thompson / used w/ permission

The Environmental Protection Agency has said it caused a large release of hazardous water from a mine above the town of Silverton, in Southwest Colorado. Which begs the question: What was the EPA doing with heavy equipment at a mine in the San Juan Mountains?

To understand that, you have to understand the history of mining in Colorado and the West.

Jonathan Thompson / used w/ permission

A huge spill of hazardous mine waste has contaminated the Animas River, which runs through Durango.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the spill was triggered by EPA employees at the Gold King Mine above Silverton while they  were investigating contamination at the mine. They estimate a million gallons of waste spilled from the mine.

Sascha Brück / Creative Commons

Communities across the state are getting ready to welcome the top cyclists in the world for the second annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The cycling race begins Monday in Durango where many locals are excited but also uncertain whether it’ll mean a boost to businesses.

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