meeting participants. Equestrian users, who seemed to be in the majority, wanted nicely groomed trails, signage, parking and access, and varied terrain. All, a no brainer.
What I heard didn’t sit well with me, for it seemed like all present were putting the cart before the horse. I felt that the discussion should have centered on preserving existent trails. Oddly enough, the meeting was held at the Mat-Su Animal Shelter, which is a stone’s throw from the landfill area and the recently constructed recycling center. However, there was no mention at all about a potential solution – slowing landfill growth by utilizing the recycling center. There was also no information given as to projected area growth, or landfill growth demographics. Rather, Doyle sugar coated the discussion by asking people about their trail width particulars. And everyone there bought into this.
Questions I had about the new trail system were who is going to use these trails? Will they be open to motorized use? Will they be multi-use? Who is going to construct them? And what happens when that land is eventually sold? Where will trail users then go?
Seems to me that trail advocacy experts should also be asking the same questions. The problem is, area trail advocacy experts are small in number. This most certainly is true of the equestrian contingent. I recently read an article in a recent issue of Equus magazine on the subject of trails management. It was said that if you want trails, you have to have groups of people working for the cause, like, for instance, the Backcountry Horsemen of America. The problem is that our local affiliate doesn’t have the numbers.
After the meeting, I mentioned this to the person sitting next to me – this, coincidently, was the Backcountry Horsemen of America, Alaska affiliate secretary. She of course agreed. I then asked her if those in this organization passed out organization brochures at meetings like this. She said “Usually. But tonight I forgot to bring some with me.”
Bottom line – this is an instance in which trail users will realize, too late, that once again, they’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes. This is because they have no concept of the Big Picture. In this instance, the ones who deal with land-related concerns are those on the Mat-Su Borough Assembly. And, these men don’t give a rat’s ass about the local trails systems. They’re a corrupt bunch who are pro-development. This is because their taking this particular stance puts money in their pockets. Sad to say, this isn’t going to change in the very near future.
I can’t make up my mind what to do about this. As I see it, I have two possible options. I can stick my head in the sand and ignore all this, or turn tail and run.
Next: 320. October 26, 2012: Weather or Not