Grand County Trails: Trailwork proves that we can (sometimes) get along |

Grand County Trails: Trailwork proves that we can (sometimes) get along

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails

What if humans just can’t get along anymore?

The city folk versus the country folk… the get-a-way from it all versus the party hounds… those who are satisfied with the simple life versus the almighty dollar chasers… the paved trail lover versus the single-track lover.

We are all different and there is no one qualified to say who is right and who is entitled to what to find their own slice of heaven. But to get anywhere, we have to stick together.

“At the broadest level, human history is a story of cooperation,” says Farhad Manjoo from the New York Times. “Individually, we big-brained, hairless primates are generally fairly ridiculous creatures … but get us together and we achieve dominion over land and sky.”

Often reluctantly, we stumble toward one another and get amazing things done. Think of the suffering of people and their losses due to fires and weather events like the hurricanes. Many people have lost everything, some consider themselves lucky with what they recovered, others have shared what they have with the have-nots, and some just don’t even notice — don’t give a hoot — and care only about themselves. And these are only some of the problems that face the world today.

Have we hit the limit of our capacity to get along? Are we capable as a species of coordinating our actions at a scale necessary to address our most dire problems? Can we learn to accept that others are entitled to their own opinions, learn how to present pros and cons to sway opinions, and the value of compromise and cooperation? Or is this an American culture problem?

Diana Lynn Rau, Grand County Trails

Here in Grand County, we are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, both global collective threats, and we feel the clash of human opinions. But that clash is minor compared to the clashes occurring in large communities.

Locals feel the influx of the different thoughts and opinions of new landowners and visitors alike who are not aware of differing circumstances for our rural way of life. Nature presents a different reality here that can be quite strict in its requirements and attention to details.

A certain hardiness is required for survival as evidenced by our pioneers. But that quality can be learned and have compromise incorporated for the best outcome. People working together produce far more than those that must have their way in this “me” culture.

On the other hand, we get people with great management or operational ideas who see how one decision affects another, somewhat like dominos. We can’t be afraid to take new ideas and work with them, accept suggestions and debate their worth.

We must evaluate, take the good parts, and be willing to shed the bad. As well, we must allow variations for the accomplished, the beginner and the in-between or family range.

For example, new bike trail construction allows for circular paths with easier riding in close, but creating loops out farther requiring more advanced skills. Areas can be created concentrating certain types of features that require a certain skill level. General family areas offer rock hopping or a path around the obstacle.

Modern trail building provides features that are sustainable, contoured to prevent erosion and out-sloped to prevent puddling and soft spots. These features have variety in ups and downs, banked turns, views and more to help separate varying levels of rider competence.

Local officials and trail enthusiasts have pitched in to help in time of disasters like derechos, heavy storms, unexpected runoffs, and social trails built incorrectly.

They have been led by HTA, USFS, BLM, NPS and others who have actively sought grants and funded assistance from outside trail builders or maintenance groups. Our county is functioning well on this collaborative front and working together more than ever before. Many people both here and in other parts of Colorado have discovered the value of this type of cooperation.

Now, how do we get people to discuss their different views on the pros and cons of vaccines and the reality of climate change with the same spirit of cooperation? It’s up to each of us to find a way.

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