We are fortunate to live in such a varied and beautiful state that offers so much in recreation. I have travelled extensively over the past 30 years in Colorado and have seen some amazing things. One thing I notice more and more is the increasing number of people vying for recreational space. Places that I used to go and not see anyone else are now popular destinations. I don’t fault anyone for wanting to visit these places as they have as much right as I do going there. I am now finding myself pushing farther into areas that are less travelled. I’m sure I am not the only one.
The word recreation is based off of the word re-create. There are many ideas as to what is being re-created. Some mention re-creation of past leisurely experiences. When people go into the wilderness there is a desire to re-create a time when people were sparse and your foot steps were among the first to tread there. There is a sense of excitement to think that you were the first person to see or experience something for the first time. We know consciously that this is not the case, but it is fun to imagine this. For me, the more people I run into, in my “special places” the less my enjoyment level is. There is also another problem with the large influx of people in open spaces. With the increased number come a small percentage of people who cause damage to that resource area. There are many areas that have been shut down to over use and abuse. One of my favorite places to visit and explore was the Red Rock Amphitheatre area. There were lots of tunnels and caves and great rock formations to climb upon and within. Unfortunately this area is off limits because of people getting hurt and also damage incurred there. I no longer venture out there except for an occasional concert. No one else will ever get to experience the great things that could be seen if it were not off limits. There are many places that I used to really enjoy for the peace and quiet that I no longer venture out to as well. It is unreasonable to think that with the growing population of our state, this trend will reverse. What is really needed is for people to be more courteous to others out in nature. People having respect for each other, seem to be challenged as time rolls on. I blame some of it on education, but much of it is the way our culture is leading people to be more self-centered. The concept of community is becoming eroded, and with that people are less inclined to care about the concerns for others. A good example of this is sitting at a stop light with the car next to you with the music so loud, and bass so strong, that your body actually resonates with it. I am not saying that all people are this way. I believe most are not. However it is a minority that cause the issues. One more pet peeve I have that illustrates the loss of community is the discord between user groups. The hikers don’t like the mountain bikers. The equestrians don’t like the mountain bikers. The mountain bikers don’t like the dirt bike riders. Having designated areas for different users seems to help some, but this just proves that each group may get along with each other, but are incapable of tolerating others. Can’t we all just get along with an increasingly limited space to enjoy….probably not.
We all need time to unwind and re-set the clock, as it were. For me getting away is just that. I spend almost all of my time immersed with others, and from time to time need solace. Planning a trip outside the holidays, and getting farther off the beaten path has been a good way for me to beat the crowds. I love where I live and have come to terms with the fact that we all need to play nice. Recreating enjoyable experiences is not dead for me, but at times becomes a little more challenging.