Guest editorial: Here are some rules to live by on Park City’s trails
I’ve been reading too many articles and letters regarding rude people on the trails. I’ve been riding Park City for 25 years averaging over 1,000 miles a year, mostly on local trails, and have never run into a rude person. Perhaps it’s because long ago I added to the rules of the trail. These are optional.
Uphill traffic has the right of way. In my rule, if the trail is wider or easier to pull off and I’m climbing, I pull over because it’s easier for both of us to pass. Also if there are more riders or hikers coming toward me, I pull over. It’s easier for me to pull over alone than it is for four people and three dogs to find a place to step off the trail.
Say something to get a smile. I came upon a runner today and she pulled over at the same time I did. I said to her, “You don’t get to
rest” and urged her on. We both laughed and went on our way.
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Dogs: Dogs always have the right of way. Dogs and small children are unpredictable. If you think you know what they’re going to do, they will prove you wrong. The owners are doing their best to control them, but sometimes they’re unguided missiles. Slow down or stop and let them by, say something nice to the dog, maybe give them a pet so they grow more accustomed to other trail users.
Do three things to improve the trail every time you go out. We have an excellent trails foundation that builds and maintains possibly the best trail system in the world. The day to day is up to us. When you come across a large, loose rock that has rolled into the trail, pick it up and throw it off. Sure, you got by these obstacles, but someone may hit it and trip or crash. The next time it could be you.
Garbage and dog poop. Yes there are those people that feel the world is there to take care of them. Don’t be one of those people. I have pockets for empty water bottles and garbage and if I know I’m coming up on a garbage can, I pick up that bag of poop and carry it to the can.
Say thank you whenever someone pulls off or attempts to. Say thank you with a smile. You’ll get a smile back.
Let people know you’re coming. Make a noise. I have a bell that I use, and on a climb I probably make enough noise wheezing to let people know I’m there.
Mountain Trails Foundation has greatly improved the way they build trails, giving good long sight lines ahead but there are still a plethora of blind sections. Cover your brake and figure that someone will be in that blind spot. Be ready. In every case, be understanding that we’re all out there having fun and sometimes it gets away from us.
Over the years I’ve seen the trails get more crowded. This is due to living in such a neat town. If you were to time what it takes to pass a group, you would find it’s less that 20 seconds. In a two-hour ride or hike, it’s a drop in the bucket. Realize that if you decide to go up Armstrong and go across the Mid Mountain to Deer Valley on a Saturday morning, you are going to run into a lot of people. Pick your times and trails to go out. Most of my rides have very little traffic due to the time I go out.
As I said, my rules of the trail are optional, but if you try these things I can guarantee you will never run into a rude person. The only thing left to do is to not be that person. When I go out, it’s my happy place. Make it yours too.
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