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Catching up on local trail talk

John Peel. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Dear Action Line: Where the heck have you been? Do we need to start looking for a new Action Line? Did you just run out of things to say that (you think) are witty? – A.L.

Dear A.L.: Look at that: It’s from A.L. We have the same initials.

Wait a second …

Is this Abraham Lincoln?

Seems to me he barely made it through our last Civil War, so he’s probably not around. Although we might need him for our next Civil War.

Hey! Wait a second. Is this Action Line writing this question?

It is!

So, nobody really noticed you were gone, but you simply wanted to make it look like they did. That is conniving.

Dear Action Line: Seriously, do you have anything worthwhile to say? – Maybe A.L. Again

Dear M.A.L.A.: Ha. Of course.

Action Line got some feedback from a column a couple of weeks ago about local trails, and whether we should consider splitting up hikers and mountain bikers. (“Do hikers and bicyclists need to be separated?” Feb. 11 Durango Herald.)

One reader told Action Line of an incident involving his 5-year-old granddaughter and bikers whipping down the Skyline Trail at the end of Jenkins Ranch Road. He said three cyclists burst out of a thicket, and “it was impossible to see them ahead of time. … They would have hit the little girl if we had been 20 seconds earlier. Very, very dangerous.”

And whether or not anyone is hit, it’s a scary and possibly scarring experience for a 5-year-old girl.

Another reader, Wright Hugus, said he picks certain trails to ride or hike based on traffic flow, visibility and other factors.

“I feel that most folks, whether on two legs or two wheels, are cordial and when presented with a meeting on a trail, will work together so as not to disrupt each other’s progress and continue on their merry way,” Hugus said.

Action Line concurs, noting it gets to the point where it’s sometimes awkward: Everyone’s politely trying to get out of the way simultaneously, and thus, no one’s making progress: “Go ahead.” “No, you go.” “No, you.”

Hugus continued by sharing his pet peeve. Action Line has heard others mention this.

“I absolutely understand the appeal of earbuds/headphones/etc., when you’re out for some exercise, but the problem is that while someone is rockin’ out to Metallica or mellowing out to Mozart, they lose that almighty sensory (hearing) that tells them of a possible interaction with another hiker/biker/trail runner/mountain lion, etc.,” he said.

As many of us do, Hugus has a bell mounted on his bike to warn others of his presence. It works pretty well except when approaching the earbud person. “When they finally do notice you’re behind them, you unintentionally scare the (dickens) out of them!”

If you’re getting fired up about this issue, and have things to say, here’s an opportunity: The San Juan Mountains Association is facilitating several listening sessions in Southwest Colorado “to gather residents’ input on conservation and outdoor recreation across the region,” said Stephanie Weber, the association’s executive director.

The next of these Southwest Colorado Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Roundtable sessions is 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Others are coming to Bayfield (March 11 and 19), and Pagosa Springs (March 12). The counties involved are Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan and southern Hinsdale.

Weber said it is critical to involve “a broad diversity of stakeholders,” from hunters and fishers to bird watchers to ranchers to motorized off-road enthusiasts to trail users. Land managers, who will also be involved, are working to balance protection of resources with growing demand for recreation, she said.

“This is meant to be a two-way street,” Weber said.

San Juan Mountains Association is hosting these sessions with grant funding it received from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado. SCCORR is one of 18 similar regional partnerships in Colorado.

You can also give input by filling out an online survey. For more details about the sessions or to access the survey, visit www.sccorr.org.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Maybe that letter was actually from Avril Lavigne? Or Annie Leibovitz?

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