Rantings and Ravings
Sometimes there are some things that just need to be said again. I certainly try not to repeat myself as I write this column, but once in a while I find myself looking at an issue that just keeps resurfacing.
Playing nice together in Carbon County is one of those issues. We have some of the most diverse topography in the state, despite being such a small area. There are alpine forests and desert expanses, and everything in between.
Our community loves to recreate and almost everything outdoorsy is available to do here right out our back door. We have many diverse users of our lands. There are hikers, walkers, mountain bikers, four wheelers, fisher folk, boaters, equestrians, campers, swimmers, shooters, hunters, runners and skateboarders to name a few.
Most of us understand that we can't do all of these activities in the same place. In recreational lakes there are areas roped or buoyed off to keep swimmers safe. Runners try and find paths that avoid cars. Mountain bikers look for areas that are off the beaten path of four-wheelers. Four wheelers want to stay off the gravel roads and away from autos.
We are all looking for that little piece of heaven that makes us really enjoy the sport we are part of. Each type of recreational user has the same desires. Not one of us has the right to judge or criticize the reason that we choose one over the other.
I attended a great meeting the other day that had a wide variety of outdoor recreational users attending. We quickly came to a consensus that we all needed a great trail system in the county and that is is not the same trails for all of us. We each want to help each other build and maintain separate trails so we all have a better time.
I was so encouraged about the cooperative effort we are trying to cultivate. That good feeling came crashing down on Wednesday as I went up to ride my mountain bike on the single track trails above town.
Four-wheel tracks were all over the trail, running over rocks, plants and barriers set up to keep the path as narrow as possible. When the barriers were too much, the person riding the four wheeler went around and came back to the trail.
I have seen this before, but this time the damage stretched on for much of the length of two separate trails.
Technically and legally they had the right to ride their machine on the trail or where ever else they wanted. But does that truly make it right?
I have heard that the off road community are as outraged as the mountain biking community. About twenty people, including several on four wheelers showed up at an ad hoc trail repair night to try and mitigate the damage.
Many of the individuals that ride the single track trails also have ATVs. They enjoy the challenge of single track riding and also the joy of hitting the trails with their machines, but would never destroy another user's trail to do either.
It is frustrating to know it is only a very small group that has decided to wreak havoc on what others have poured their heart and soul into.
I will say it again, "Play Nice!"
I am part of a committee that is looking to develop trail systems for all types of users. Feel free to e-mail me with your suggestions on how to meet the needs of the type of recreation you participate in. Let's fix this the right way and not by alienating another group in the process.