I just about lost it the other day, guys. Just about flipped my lid, gone ballistic, hit the ceiling. Lost it.
There I was, deep in the throws of a runner’s high, jogging along, minding my own business. As I stepped to the side to let a biker pass, I looked up ahead. In the distance, I saw a handful of people off the trail, down the side of a steep, grassy hill. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I thought, “Maybe someone slipped and the others were helping them out.”
I kept on running and they got back on the trail. I was getting closer and closer to this group of people and as I rounded the last turned toward the parking lot, I look to my right and find them off the trail again. They were cutting that last little bit of trail back to their car.
First of all, they literally only cut off less than a tenth of a mile. Second, THERE’S A FENCE! A WOODEN FENCE purposely put up so that people WOULDN’T cut the trail right there. Both ends of their “I don’t give a fuck” trail, their shortcut, is fenced off. AND, their car was at the other end of the parking lot, where the REAL trail spits you out.
I rarely have outbursts but aloud said, “Stay on the trail, people. If we keep doing stuff like that we’ll not have nice things anymore.”
The just looked at me and kept on walking through the tall grass. I wanted to say so much more, but unfortunately, I don’t think it would have made a difference and I probably wouldn’t have done it appropriately. I can’t even express how much this bothers me.
Seriously, if people keep doing this, over and over, we wouldn’t have any trails or beautiful grass fields to hike and run through. It would be all one giant dirt hill and that wouldn’t be any fun. It would be boring and ugly, not to mention all the plants and animals that would be lost. This particular trail is Green Mountain in Lakewood. It is a great place to train on while being really close to work. It’s across the street from where I coach track. Talk about convenient. But just because it’s near the city, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated just like all the rest of the trails.
“Stay on trail.” There are signs, they are clearly visible, and there are FREAKING FENCES!
Staying on the trails isn’t just a silly “rule.” On a well-used trail like this one, it’s the only thing from keeping the whole thing from eroding out. Don’t even get me started on social trails or walking parallel to a trail when it’s muddy. (Singletracks becoming double, and getting wider and wider every year.)
This is an example of erosion at Green Mountain after people walk to the side during the mud. Before you know it, the grass in between will get worn out and it’s not twice as wide. Then the process repeats.
Walk through the mud people. Better yet, if it’s really, REALLY muddy, just stay away!
And I totally understand that some cultures just don’t have the same values for nature and our planet as others, but then again why are you even out on the trails in the first place!? Language is not a barrier when THERE’S A FREAKIN’ FENCE!
I don’t know why this makes me so mad. Maybe it’s because I can see the signs of overuse, not picking up trash, and trail cutting in the areas nearby to where I live. They have even closed down a popular Evergreen park because people wouldn’t pick up their dogs’ poop. (Oh, I could go on for hours on poop bags. You KNOW you are not going to pick it up on the way back; don’t leave it there. At that rate, just let your dog poop out in the open. That’s better for the environment than a plastic bag!)
This is not from the trail I was on. Maybe it needs to be, because clearly a fence is not enough.
With more and more people moving to Colorado and visiting every year, it’s important to educate people. Just saying “don’t do this, don’t do that” isn’t enough anymore. Deep in my heart, I’d like to think people want to do the right thing but don’t because they can’t see the effects of their actions, or out-right don’t know, they don’t follow the “rules.”
Hmm… maybe I should have stayed on the conservation biology track. Or maybe I can help out on my own through my blog, social media, and word of mouth.
Excuse me, I’ve got some brainstorming, planning, and work to do.
Sign at a different park.