Rau: Great trails build great communities | SkyHiNews.com

Rau: Great trails build great communities

Diuana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails

Diana Lynn Rau

HTA presented the latest draft of the Grand County Master Plan on July 21 at the Winter Park Town Hall. Most of the people who had participated in the process by discussing the hopes and objectives of their particular trail discipline were present.

The process of drawing all these people to agree on trail usage, trail functions, trail maintenance plans, funding issues, and more had been a long and daunting process. And the Master Plan will become a living document, meant to be responsive as situations change. Yet all user groups are asked to work with it together as this plan is geared to fit our specific community.

Great trails build great communities and great communities build great trails. The Fraser Valley has the natural environment and we have a trail system that needs tweaking but is already on its way to becoming known nationally. We need to build even more community support – teach people to think about and realize this incredible use of public space leads to a healthier population and revitalized economy. And we have it all here at our feet – the three most popular recreation activities – biking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. We add skiing to that list of course. But to keep a system like this going, we need more volunteers.

If you use trails, try to think how you can give back – trail work is not for everyone. But there are other ways like fundraising, grant writing, handing out information, organizing volunteers, giving feedback about trail conditions, joining a group like Search and Rescue, designing trails or trailheads or signage. Something can speak to your skills. We need all those talents and more.

Think about the old saying – if you build it they will come. Just build it right the first time – create it sustainably. That means having a minimum impact on the environment by using correct construction that fits the situation, creating a plan for regular maintenance, and addressing a way to avoid user conflicts. Trails need to provide for all ability levels and have signage and mapping to show the location of those various levels and amenities. The whole community needs to be drawn in and involved. All available options for additional activities need to be showcased. We all need to know what we have. A good trail system and the benefits derived from it is more than just digging in the dirt, it takes buy in by everyone – individuals, businesses, promoters, funders, and more.

For most Valley residents, our livelihood depends on the trails environment and we all need to work together for the good of all to enhance this environment. The Fraser Valley has a great start on this process and needs to focus its efforts on promoting its best assets. HTA has made a good start on these principles for success and is working hard to get everyone on the same page as a community. The Master Plan draft will be posted in the next few days on the newly improved website https://headwaterstrails.org.

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