As the weather warms up, outdoor recreational activities begin to gear up for many of us. Around here there are so many to choose from. Organized sports are part of the fun. Others engage in activities like hiking, four wheeling, biking and camping.
Despite our abundance of open land, it is also the time when conflicts begin to arise with different user groups.
All recreational activities have their place. All are fun and when done with respect for others are wholesome family activities. Every one of these activities is better than having our kids sitting in front of the TV all day playing computerized version of the same sports.
So why can't we find ways to coexist? I feel that the problem is that some people don't understand that to share the lands does not mean that every single use has to happen on every piece of land.
I have said it before; we all have different motivations for our recreational choices. For some it is solitude, for others it is a physical test, and for others still, it may be the joy of speed and power. No one has the right to dictate the experience of another.
All uses are not compatible together at the same time. It would be very irritating to four wheeler enthusiasts to have a hiking path right across the Little Sahara sand dunes. If the riders had to slow down and swerve around people as they went four wheeling up and down the dunes, it would change the whole experience.
Needless to say that a person who has hiked on a traditionally motorized free trail and suddenly has motorized vehicles to contend with, tend to get irritated as well.
We need to designate sufficient spaces for all users, but it will mean that some spaces remain closed to motorized used.
The well worn argument used by a shared access group is that they don't mind sharing the trails with the rest of the users. This reminds me of back when we began to ban smoking in restaurants and other public places. Smokers also said they didn't mind sharing spaces with non-smokers, so what was the problem.
We can all see the fallacy in that statement now.
It's also like telling your kids to share a piece of candy. The older one licks the entire piece and gives it to the younger one and says, "Now its your turn." Once licked the candy is not the same. The best way to share is to break the candy in half and each take a piece.
So as the summer heats up and the debates on land use begin again, remember that we all want to have a good time.
We all need our spaces. Take your piece of candy, but don't lick the whole thing first. Respect each other and give each other the room to enjoy.