Nancy Morey: Keep Silverthorne trail natural
Bravo! I could not agree more with Ms. Hage, and my husband, an avid bicyclist since the 1970s, agrees also. The proposed major change to this peaceful, quiet path beside the Blue River and through the woods, will ruin it. Like Ms. Hage, we are not adjacent property owners, but we have walked this path since 1993 and love it in every season. It’s not crowded now, even in summer, but look out if this construction happens as proposed. Where else, besides this area and the one small section by the lake designated “No Bikes,” do those of us who appreciate quiet, uninterrupted walks in natural settings have to go (besides hiking in wilderness – also nice, but inaccessible for daily walks) without being just about constantly interrupted with having to protect our pets, small children, or only ourselves by getting off the trail or stopping in time for bikes to pass? Is having these two paths to walk in peace, without the worry of potential collision constantly on our minds, too much to ask? Two so relatively short walking paths as compared to the miles upon miles of bike/recpaths in the county?
Many bicyclists on shared recpaths (and there are plenty of those already in existence, as Ms. Hage wrote) without bells do not even have the common basic courtesy of calling out “on your left” or “on your right” as they approach, often too silently to be heard. I try to make sure, when walking my dog on a shared path, that I, my dog, or her leash are never obstacles to bikes, and I always thank the bicyclist who has called out the standard warning that is basic bike etiquette. Many bicyclists and runners thank me for stopping or exiting the path for them, but they are the minority, sad to say. Runners don’t bother us, but we can certainly appreciate Ms. Hage’s point of including them in her letter. It’s so nice to have these two very different paths (at lake and river) to walk in peace knowing we can relax and walk, without potential interruption a constant in the backs of our minds. Bicycles can easily be re-directed around the area in question at the Blue River, leaving its peace and beauty for the walkers to enjoy without having to so often exit the trail in the nick of time and/or huddle their dogs and children to avoid a collision.
In addition to supporting Ms. Hage’s comments, I would like to request that all bicycle rental businesses please stress the common etiquette of trail sharing to tourists who rent bikes, who are often novice cyclists (but all need reminding). In the interest of safety, the ski areas (at least Copper) installed portable signs – “Look Uphill and Yield to Others”; “Skiers Below You Have the Right-of-Way.” I don’t want more, however relevant, signage, but bicycle/walker/hiker safety cannot be emphasized too much. No one wants to experience a painful collision or see their pets or children injured anywhere.
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