EDITOR’S DESK: The joys of volunteering
As I've bent your ears (eyeballs?) about before, I wear a trail-guy “hat” too. It all goes back about 25 years ago, when I got involved with the planning for the first Intemann Trail project. Today I'm basically the “last man standing” from that original committee, still organizing summer workdays with my family and
other volunteers, trying to keep the roughly four-mile trail safe, clear and signed for the thousands of hikers, bikers and equestrians that use it every year.
Normally, that world is totally separate from this of the newspaper. But a "new normal" suddenly presented itself at the Oct. 5 Red Rock Canyon Open Space meeting. I was there basically in "both hats" - interested in seeing the progress of the new master plan for the area that includes Section 16 (where a segment of the Intemann is) and in reporting as needed about any related activities that would be beneficial to you readers out there. What happened Oct. 5 was that the city's consultant unveiled, without advance warning, a draft map that revealed a desire on the part of the city and consultant to redo a large extent of the Section 16 trails, including the Intemann.
Now, this volunteering stuff has never been a personal thing for me. I'm open to considered proposals about trail improvements. Our committee has even done reroutes on our own, when major drainage issues presented themselves. I also should point out that the City Parks people are hardly mean-spirited. But I couldn't help feeling a sense of affront - for other volunteer trail-builders too - at the city's almost mind-boggling indifference to the people who have been taking care of its trails for free. I would have thought such efforts would at least earn us the right to be queried in advance on any reroute discussions. It might even have resulted in a better map than the one that's now been tossed in front of the public at large. Furthermore, who does the city expect to do all this work? The same volunteers it just dissed? Here's an idea: a master-plan process in tact and diplomacy. The volunteers can conduct it; city people can sit at the tables and we'll call on them if we feel like it.