Colorado Mountain Town Forms 7-Mile Human Chain
Durango, Colorado. (September, 27, 2012) – More than 9,000Durango residents and visitors linked hands and created a 7-mile human chain, with a few intermittent gaps, that wound its way through the scenic Rocky Mountain community of Durango, Colorado. While it won’t challenge the Guinness World Record for hand holding, the impressive human chain in Southwest Colorado provided a worthy tribute to the completion of the 7-mile Animas River Trail.
Officially called “Durango Connect,” the event was promoted as a community-wide celebration of the Animas River Trail, a project that took over 40 years and several million dollars to complete. The final section, finished in May 2012, created a continuous and uninterrupted path for pedestrians and bicyclists along the Animas River; connecting the north valley to southern end of Durango with plans to expand even further. The path links 12 city parks, crosses eight bridges, intertwines four underpasses, and goes through one tunnel–all without crossing a single street.
“The idea is to honor and showcase the Animas River Trail and our unique City of Durango in a way that will be remembered for many years,” says Mayor Doug Lyon. “It’s a sign of unity and camaraderie to join hands as a community and embrace something we are very proud of. With a City population of just over 16,000, “Durango Connect “engaged almost half of our population, with plenty of kids, as participants rather than as spectators.”
Students and teachers were, in fact, the lynchpin to finding enough links to complete the chain. One hundred percent of local schools turned out, contributing nearly 6,000 people to the human chain. Most of students walked to the trail fulfilling another goal of the project – getting kids active and engaged in the outdoors, participating in a local event of historical significance and building awareness of the “Safe Routes To School” trail. Local businesses, city staff and management, sports teams, churches, individuals, senior citizens and random tourists filled in to complete the link.
“We wanted to give everyone a one-hour break from politics and everything else that’s tearing people apart,” says event volunteer and fifth-generation local Jack Turner. “It was a great time to set aside our differences and link up to send a unified message of being ‘connected.”
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe also participated sending 75 members in full ceremonial attire. Veterans and service clubs joined in the shared message of the event. On the lighter side and in keeping with Durango locals’ aversion to take themselves too seriously, groups came in costumes ranging from racy to just plain weird. The human links were entertained during the lineup by a variety of entertainers including a polka band, drummers, rock bands, bagpipers, and cross-dressing local singing legend–Ralph Dinosaur. Jugglers, magicians, and street performers were also staged at intervals along the river trail. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad dispatched the “Connection Express” to transport train employees to the trail.
Andy Corra, Owner or 4Corners Riversports says, “The Animas River Trail is a showpiece and part of what makes our town such a great place to live and play. We never need much excuse for a celebration here in Durango, and this time we made it a 7 mile long, 10 foot wide party!”
- General information: Fun@DurangoConnect.com
- Group information: Group@DurangoConnect.com
- Entertainment: Entertainment@DurangoConnect.com
- Volunteers: Volunteer@DurangoConnect.com
- School Information: Schools@DurangoConnect.com
- Media: Media@DurangoConnect.com
- Sponsor Information: Sponsor@DurangoConnect.com
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