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Dolores proposes to close portion of escarpment for safety reasons

The town of Dolores proposes to close a portion of the south-facing escarpment from the water tower to above the school campus for safety reasons. (Courtesy image)
Hillside along Road 31 was recently annexed by town; new town treasurer appointed

The town of Dolores proposes an ordinance to close off a portion of the south-facing escarpment area of the valley for safety concerns.

The section of town land to be closed to the public would include the area of the water tower and hillside above the Dolores school district campus to the east.

To protect critical infrastructure, town officials want to prohibit public access to the water tower and the dirt road to it from County Road 31.

Sheriff Steve Nowlin said closing off the rocky hillside above the school is necessary for the safety and security of students and staff.

The land to be closed to the public was recently annexed by the town. The area does not include any trail, and there is no plan for the property.

The closure does not affect the new 14th Street Trail that passes nearby and goes up the draw to Granath Mesa.

Keeping people off the unstable hillside protects the water tower and road from rockfall, officials said.

Much of the south-facing escarpment in Dolores is town property.

Feb 28, 2023
Modern bike and skate park proposed for Joe Rowell Park in Dolores

A previous proposal that considered closing all the escarpment to the public was dropped.

As a compromise, the town decided to move forward with just the closure at the water tank and above the school. The proposed ordinance would allow the town manager or sheriff to close any part of the escarpment area in the event of an emergency.

“It leaves the door open for the town to adopt rules in the future by resolution for the rest of the escarpment,” said town attorney Jon Lewis Kelly.

Safety issues that could call for closures could be rockfall or wildfire. The draft ordinance also clarifies that the escarpment is not open for town events.

Other town news
  • The Town Board agreed to award the contract to install an emergency siren to Sentry Siren Inc. for $56,000. The town was awarded a Department of Local Affairs grant to pay for the siren, which will be used to alert the public about safety issues such as wildfire or flooding.
  • The Town Board appointed Heather Robertson as the new town treasurer. Former Treasurer Patricia Gibson has resigned to work for the Bureau of Reclamation.
  • The town passed a resolution to enter into an agreement with Onward! A Legacy Foundation and the Lost Canyon Bike and Skate Park Committee to plan and raise funds for a new bike and skate park in Joe Rowell Park. The agreement states the committee and Onward will raise funds for the new facility and provide volunteer services under the direction of the town. The bike park will be owned by the town, and its planning, design, construction and maintenance of the park will be under the direction of the town.