Please consider this an invitation to attend the Willow Bend Environmental Education Center Cerebration on August 17 at its facility located at 703 East Sawmill Road. Don't miss an excellent opportunity to see and hear about all they have achieved during their 40 year existence.
Located in Sawmill Park overlooking a section of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System, Willow Bend is a "hands on" environmental education focus for youngsters and adults alike and a motivational force in our city. From the straw-built main building to its wonderful native plant gardens, it's a true Flagstaff treasure.
The festivities start at 11:00 a.m. and last until 2:00 p.m. The inspiration behind the developing Willow Bend Native Plant Gardens, Susan Lamb will lead a sightseeing visit of those thriving landscapes at 10:00 a.m. Meet me at the Police Department parking lot located at 911 Sawmill Road at 9:45 a.m. and we'll walk the short distance to Willow Bend to join Susan for her very special tour.
And on another subject, I have long advocated the Forest Trail User Triangle (riders on bicycles defer to hikers and both of those users defer to horseback riders) be altered to ask those hiking be the ones accommodating the other two users when sharing our woodland trails.
I also think this courtesy should be extended to runners and every other user. My concern has always been about safety and those walking are obviously the most mobile of all the user groups. Hikers, after all, are the only ones with both feet on the ground.
I have often wondered if and how the regulations listed on the trail user triangle are enforced? Who or what will be around to ensure those guidelines are consistently observed and is there any value in the posting of rules that are routinely ignored? During discussions of this issue, I hope we can all agree to disagree, agreeably.
The following is a quick summation of what our hiking/walking group has been doing for 15 years while traveling by foot on forest trails. Our walk/hike leader is always looking up the trail for other users and those in the back of our usually small column announce the presence of any forest trail enthusiast approaching us from the rear.
When a visual contact is made that information is passed along verbally among our hikers and is the lone signal for us to step off the path while waiting for our arriving trail friends to pass. And we do this for every trail user encountered.
When I hike by myself, I follow the same routine, but without the advantage of an audible alert from fellow trekkers. These days I find walking unaccompanied in the woods requires much more awareness and while that alertness is not the greatest part of an otherwise pleasant activity it does serve as a reliable safeguard.
I will never believe folks venture onto a forest trail looking for reasons to be displeased and are hoping for a negative outdoor experience. I sincerely think the adoption of a civil "everyone else first" attitude would promote positive feelings among other forest travelers and exchanging a few amiable words in that process wouldn't hurt either.