Today, the world has too many options.  The grocery store use to offer maybe three choices of a product to satisfy prospective shoppers.  Now the poor store has to have 10 or even 20 varieties of the same product to satisfy demanding shoppers.  Restaurants could offer a simple menu no they have to have vegetarian, vegan, and so many others to attract patrons.  There used to be three airfares – one way, round trip, and first class. Now one pair of cities (say Denver to San Diego) might have ten PAGES of different airfares available to travelers.  There used to be natural trails or paved surface trails and now a resort or an area has to have all sorts of structures and variety in types of trails just to keep up with the competition. The American public is always trying to improve the game, to offer more choices, to one up the competition.  But is it an improvement?

Every part of life whether store stocking policy, airfares, trail construction or other has to have rules and most likely those rules are driven by the almighty Dollar.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to have rules and policies driven by safety or improvements to life. Building construction in Grand County, for example, has certain safety requirements for roof construction because of our snowfall or safety requirements electrical wiring.  In areas like the Bahamas, prone to hurricanes like Dorian, or Mexico City, prone to earthquakes, different construction requirements are needed to avoid the total destruction we see all too often after disastrous circumstances.  

People seem to want to work around rules or policies.  Sometimes there are simple signs asking people to “Keep off the Grass” or “Respect Private Property”.  Too many people just don’t pay attention to these simple requests. “But what harm will it do if I go across the grass?”  they say. And then 30 more people do the same thing and the grass is destroyed. “What harm will it do if I ride off trail through the Experimental Forest?” they say.  Then the Experimental Forest holds a meeting reinforcing their request to stay on designated trails, again people ignore the request, long standing projects are destroyed and now certain areas are closed completely.

Other times there are barriers to keep people from entering areas.  Sometimes bars are lowered to prevent access, for instance when a road is not maintained for winter travel.  People often think this does not apply to them and go around the barrier, get stuck, and risk other people’s lives or safety trying to rescue them. Sometimes grates cover an entrance to a hazard. Usually this is to keep out inquisitive animals but just as often the barrier is meant to keep out inquisitive humans.  Again, some people think this does not apply to them and last weekend two youth from Fraser wound up in the hospital when they weren’t as smart as the animals. Rules and warning signs are for a reason. We need to pay attention – this means YOU…

New rules have gone into effect that keep bicycles on designated trails in Arapaho National forest in Grand County. Local trail organizations, businesses, residents, local governments and environmental organizations across Grand county are helping improve the USF Sulphur Ranger District’s trail system. “The project, which started implementation in 2017, aims to improve trail-to-trail connectivity, creating loop opportunities and designating trails  to provide a range of experiences for beginner thru advanced riders. This is being achieved through new trail construction, trail reroutes, trail width reduction from roads to single track, and closing and decommissioning some system and non-system trails. The entire project is expected to take 5-10 years to complete,” wrote Katherine Armstrong, Public Affairs Specialist from the Arapaho National Forest.

“A key aspect of this project is to balance all these trail improvements with the conservation of wildlife habitat, watersheds and other natural resources we value,” said Sulphur District Ranger Jon Morrissey. “Part of finding that balance is curbing the proliferation of user-created routes and keeping the impacts to the trails system so that wildlife and other resources can thrive.”

As a result, off trail biking now is expressly not allowed across the ranger district. The regulation applies to all types of bikes in summer and winter. In addition, two designated trails will be off limits to bikes in winter, including Tipperary Creek (N68) and Flume (N82).

This is one set of rules trails people would like to see everyone realize applies to each of us.  Observing this rule will only make a better system but we need everyones’ cooperation. Whether you live here or are just visiting, this means YOU!   Please help us…