To the editor:
I often have opinions about what is happening in our community, country and world and rarely do anything about it. After reading "Popular place: Mountain bikers concerned about park trail," I had to write a letter.
I'm concerned about the trails along the river, too. For years, I've enjoyed being able to take long, peaceful walks with my dogs through the woods and along the Kansas River on these trails. It has been one of those places where I could go and really feel like I was outdoors, out of the city. For me, it was wonderful; my walks were a great release. I felt lucky that there was such a place and that I had access to it.
The last time I went for a walk on the trails south of the bridge with my dogs well, I couldn't. We cut the walk short and headed home. Too many bikes. The next weekend, we went to Burcham Park to walk on those trails. Same thing. Mountain bikes seem to have taken over the foot paths. You know, in Colorado, mountain bikes aren't allowed on paths. Last year, When I had the opportunity to walk on part of the Appalachian Trail, it was brought to my attention that bikes weren't allowed on those trails either. The destruction to the trails is evident. But those who enjoyed the kinds of walks that I did are being denied that privilege. As it is now, what were once footpaths are becoming bike paths, and I guess I really resent that.
I think it would be sad to let the responsibility of trails be turned over to a special interest group. I'm certain there are others out there besides me who realize the treasure of being able to go for that long, peaceful walk through the woods. In the city, places like that are so hard to find. I hope we don't lose this one.
Surely there's a compromise. Couldn't the foot paths that already exist and have for years along the Kansas River remain just that foot paths? If there are plans to bring in gravel and reroute the paths anyway, couldn't a new path say between the levee and the woods be constructed just for those who wish to ride mountain bikes? I mean exercise is great, and we all need "releases" and a lot of people enjoy being outdoors, so isn't there a way for both walkers and bikers to have paths without one group being denied?