Trail Talk: We’re all in this together
Park and Trails Manager, Town of Snowmass Village
Starting this month, the summer “Trail Talk” series, which explores trail issues, etiquette and rules for shared trail use in the village, will run monthly as part of the Snowmass Sun’s Village Voices section. The series is in partnership with the town’s parks, recreation and trails department and will replace the “Teen Spotlight” series after this month, a column produced by staff writers for Aspen High School’s Skier Scribbler, until school starts back up this fall. If you have comments, questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This spring seems extraordinarily green, the sky brilliantly blue and bird songs loud and clear. Maybe it’s a new perspective of life in these unprecedented times, less pollution or appreciation for that next season.
I’ve seen this recurring statement over the last few months: “We are all in this together.” We live here for the mountains, fresh air, sunshine and the bonus of great trails in our backyard to enjoy. Being outside is the constant we have had during the pandemic, and experts have encouraged us to be outdoors more because it has been proven to be safer than indoors, as the virus has greater potential for dilution outside.
People are excited to move toward their active summer lifestyles, heading to the trails as the snow melts, travel restrictions ease and the wildlife closures are lifted. If we really are all in this together and the trails seem a little busier, we need to remember just a few things:
• Keep your fury friend on a leash on all trails. It is the law here in Snowmass Village. Also, pay attention to trails that do not allow dogs like Hawk Ridge and Seven Star.
• Pick up the poo. We provide bags and trash cans for disposal, so please do your part. The town has a great GIS system with our trash can locations marked. If you are curious, check it out at tosv.com/439/GIS-Mapping.
• Try a new route and avoid the trailheads. Our trails have limited parking and we work hard to connect trails to larger common areas with more parking spaces. Find a new route to your favorite trail and leave the car at home. Keep in mind the South Rim trailhead only has three parking spaces.
• Pay attention. I appreciate the group experience and as the restrictions relax, we’ll see larger groups on the trails. Hike, run and/or ride for a while with that group, then mix it up. Above all, pay attention to others as they seek out their own experience on the trail.
• Be alert. Trail users especially like to hit the trail plugged into music. If you are plugged in, keep the volume low enough so it doesn’t block out the sounds around you. Keep to the side of the trail if on the paved paths.
• Share the trail. I have touched on this before, but a quick reminder can’t hurt. When sharing the trail, mountain bikers yield to hikers and equestrians, hikers yield to equestrians.
• Uphill yields to down. If you’re on a steep, narrow trail, the downhill hiker/biker/runner should yield to the person laboring uphill. While this is a general rule, there are times on a mountain bike where both parties know instinctively that the downhiller should have the right-of-way.
• Passing. This mainly applies to bikers. When you come up behind a slower trail user, announce your intentions to pass. Something as simple as saying “passing on your left” is good. Announce your intentions far enough in advance so that the person has time to react. A “thank you” after passing a cooperative party is a nice touch. And if they’re plugged in, don’t hear you and continue to take up the middle of the trail, be patient, take a breath and remind yourself you’re on the trail and it’s a gorgeous day.
• Stop off the trail. If you stop to take a drink, check a map or look at your phone please step off the trail.
• Finally, say a simple, “Hey,” “Hi,” “How are ya?” or give a little wave, a quick smile or a peace sign. A simple act of basic humanity goes a long way. Be nice and share the trail as we are all in this together.
Thanks for doing your part and stay safe out there! If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Recreation Center at 970-922-2240.
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