Respect Colorado Springs’ parks

February 20, 2018

Sarah Kellar

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    When you live in a place as beautiful as Colorado Springs, it’s easy to assume why tourists want to see our city.

    With over 50 parks, natural attractions and, of course, the Olympic Training Center, I understand why people love to visit the Springs.

    However, I do not believe the tourists understand that this city is not just a destination to those who live here. It is our home.

    Many of our parks are often filled with visitors who do not understand how to walk in nature. Garden of the Gods, which receives around 2 million visitors every year, according to a 2014 Gazette article, is a place where I’ve seen the biggest offenders.

    The park consists of 1,367 acres of trails. Whether you’re a native to the Springs or not, you should see it. However, there are certain rules of etiquette that tourists should follow.

    Please do not listen to music on radios and cells phones without headphones. You may enjoy nature listening to music but others may not. I, along with others, like to view nature in silence. I want to take in what is around me.

    Tourists should  not follow people around on the trails either. I was hiking on a less popular trail in Garden of the Gods, and a couple followed behind me. They were not far behind — they were right on the heels of my toes.

    If you want a guide, get a guide. I did not agree to allow you to follow me around. If you are lost, ask someone for help. I’m sure anyone would be willing to help you out.

    Let others see the formations. Often times, the most popular formations are a pain to see because people climb all over them and don’t let others have their turn. The formations are amazing, and everyone wants to get their chance to experience them.     

    Most importantly, do not litter. This shouldn’t even need to be stated, but every time I take a hike, I end up leaving with a bag of trash that someone else left behind. Litter hurts the environment and the animals that call the parks home.

    The parks are here for everyone to enjoy and I want everyone to have their chance to experience the city’s natural beauty. It does not matter if you are a tourist or local, if you are an expert hiker or new to the trails.

    Make your hikes enjoyable for everyone by respecting the people and nature around you.