there is a multi user group that was put together by david gordon to explore ways to develop and ingrain a trails ethic in our community. the committee includes runners, hikers, bikers, dog owners & non dog owners. we all agreed that one of the biggest issues on the lower, more congested trails is that there seems to be a sense of entitlement, and that some folks seem to feel that their trail experience is the only one that counts.
it's easy to point fingers- for dog owners to say "mt bikers fly down trails & scare and can really hurt people"; for bikers to say "runners and walkers who go 3-4 abreast widen trails"; for runners to say "dogs owners let their dogs jump on and chase people and don't pick up poop". there are those who seem to think that any use other than walking schoolchildren through degrades the resource, as though it should be an urban yellowstone.
we all know people who don't seem to think that the rules apply to them. it's ok for a dog to chase mt bikes because some bike riders are jerks. it's ok to zoom by a dog because some owners let their dogs chase bikes. why should i pick up dog poop when there is sheep and cow poop everywhere? it takes a little more work, but being respectful of other users and trying to understand how our actions impact other's experiences would go a long way toward easing conflict.
for the most part things work really well. the number of complaints is low, but there will be increasing pressure on the system as the valley continues to grow, and developing an ethic of sharing and caring for the resource is the best way to preserve it and to maintain the access we all enjoy.
we have an incredible trail system. it's easy to get to, we have miles of trails, the city has done a great job of acquiring land and making agreements with private land owners & other government agencies in order to link and extend the system. volunteers put in countless hours building and maintaining trails. (before cursing mountain bikers as a group, remember that swimba donates a lot of money and labor every year to build trails that we all use.)
it sort of all boils down to sharing and being polite.
and- off the soapbox!
another beautiful day- the clouds were great-