Carolyn Sackariason: With summer tourism, if you see something, say something | AspenTimes.com
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Carolyn Sackariason: With summer tourism, if you see something, say something

Carolyn Sackariason

We are just a little over one month into summer, and it’s feeling pretty hot out there in our little hamlet.

Temperatures have been hot, and tempers have been even hotter I’ve noticed. It seems that city life has penetrated our relaxed, laid-back lifestyle a tad bit more than we’re accustomed to thanks to the urban exodus us longtime locals have been experiencing since last summer.

It’s busy out there, and we are grateful for the business, because after all, we are a resort that relies on tourism. But can’t we all just get along?



I was talking with a friend on a quiet walk through the Hunter Creek Valley one recent morning, before the crowds took over the single-track trail that’s lined with beautiful mountain flowers right now.

She told me she read an article in a travel magazine that pointed out that most travel right now is domestic due to the pandemic, so we are not seeing our international friends as often.


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So instead we have more Americans in our midst, from the city, I speculate, due to their fancy attire and entitled attitudes. I hate to be negative and stereotypical, but it’s the lens I am looking through when I see bad behavior.

International travelers try to learn the laws and norms of our country, follow them and blend in with us so we can coexist.

I’m not sure many of my fellow Americans who are here visiting right now have the same mentality. Our laws are the same laws they have at home so they shouldn’t be surprised when they nearly get hit by a car after blindly walking off the curb without looking.

Our speed limit on Main Street is 25 mph, and it’s encouraged that you zipper when approaching the S-curves, meaning that you use the left lane until the arrow tells you to merge.

There is no need to honk, or speed, since you aren’t going to get anywhere any faster by doing either. Slow your roll, people.

Local workers in our restaurants and retail shops are working really hard during what is shaping up to be the busiest summer on record, and with a labor shortage on top of it. We ask that you please be kind to them, they are trying to give you the best service possible.

I always feel bad when I see someone in the service industry being treated poorly so I usually speak up on behalf of them, since they can’t.

I liken it to the national campaign for terrorism awareness called, “If you see something, say something.”

I’ve had to employ it twice recently. The first instance was when a man wearing a Texas T-shirt decided it was appropriate to stand 10 feet away from the picnic table I was working at in Rio Grande Park where I was having a sensitive, off-the-record conversation with a source.

I tried to focus on the conversation even though he was right there throwing the ball for his dog. I described the situation to the person on the other end of the phone and the man unleashed on me. He screamed that he had a right to be there and it was a public park.

Yes, you have a right to be there, anywhere in that huge spacious park but you don’t have a right to be listening to my conversations and get in my space.

I asked him when he would be going home so I could return to the park. He realized that perhaps he was being rude and apologized for “upsetting me.” He eventually left.

See something, say something.

I guess people from the city are just used to being on top of each other and being close enough to hear another person’s private conversation is normal.

A week later, I watched a woman trying to open a dumpster behind the library, but she couldn’t because of the locked bar across it to prevent bears from getting in, so she decided to leave her trash on top.

I had to inform her that her trash was not a library employee’s problem and to find a public trash can where she could properly dispose of her garbage.

See something, say something.

You can do that by filling out an online survey that the chamber of commerce is doing as part of a destination management planning process.

Officials say they want to know what local residents think about tourism here and how they can protect our quality of life while also preserving the reasons why people come here.

While I scratch my head wondering what some of the questions actually mean, it doesn’t hurt to take it. The survey can be found at fs29.formsite.com/Dest/dpiv5ywv1c/index.html.

See something, say something.

csackariason@aspentimes.com


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