Letter to the editor: Stay on designated trails to protect our Alpine environment | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Stay on designated trails to protect our Alpine environment

I think we all realize how lucky we are to be in Summit during the summer of 2020.

The mountains have graciously offered us a respite from the dystopian nightmare we have been aimlessly wandering through for the past five months.

Loveland Pass is a treat to visit, and there are many paths you can take to meander through the wildflowers, around the lakes and up the mountainside. There is also a very fragile ecosystem called the Alpine tundra, a home to unique and rare plants, some of which have survived for thousands of years. The plants that live on the Alpine tundra are not only beautiful, they have incredible adaptations. The symbiotic relationships they have established with other plants, as well as animals, is astonishing. Do some research. The tundra is a magical place.

While at Loveland, I saw many people roaming a long way from designated trails. They were running and jumping and having a blast. I get it; it’s fun to go off the beaten track. But there’s usually a good reason to stay on a beaten track: in this case, the Alpine ecosystem is very susceptible to long-lasting damage caused by humans, much of it irreparable. One short summer of thoughtless trampling across the Alpine environment can destroy it. Restoration can take decades, and there is no guarantee the ecosystem will ever recover.

There are a lot of people here now — both residents and visitors. Enjoy! But remember, as John Denver wrote, with more people comes “more scars upon the land.”

Don’t leave scars. Help preserve our special place by respecting it, and stay on designated trails. Thanks.

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