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There’s a lesson for all of us in Basin Rec’s threat to shut down all trails

First they came for the restaurants, and I did not speak out
… because I don’t own a restaurant

Then they came for non-essential businesses, and I did not speak out
… because I don’t work at a non-essential business

Then they came for the dog parks, and I did not speak out
… because I had other trails to walk on

Then they came for the trails — and there was nowhere else to go.

I was in the liquor store a week ago and commented to the employee working there about how civilized the store was. She said, “I think people understand that they don’t want this taken away.” That comment didn’t really resonate until I read KPCW’s article, Basin Dog Parks Closed – Trails Could Be Next.

Basin Recreation District Director Brian Hanton commented on KPCW, “Our trails are still open. We’ve limited a lot of our facilities but we’re inviting people out on the trails we are having some issues at the trailheads. Those will probably be the next [to be shut down] if people can’t abide by the regulations that are in place…”

Imagine the greater Park City area where you can’t go to work, you can’t play pickleball, you can’t go to the gym, you can’t go to any store but a grocer, you can’t go to the dog park, and now you can’t go on any trails. That’s completely miserable, and that’s what’s at stake.

How did we get here? I’m really not sure, but there are lessons to be learned by everyone in our city and county.

So, here’s my list of what we all should have learned by now.

Residents: Stay at home and only venture out if you absolutely need to. Don’t be a jerk.

Medical Professionals: Stay safe by being as careful as you can.

People on our trails: Don’t be a god-damn idiot and get in close proximity to one another. I know you think you won’t get sick and you probably won’t. But your asymptomatic case could kill someone’s loved one. It could also lead to schools being closed next fall. If that happens, damn you all. The best case is you give Brian Hanton a reason to close down our trails. Don’t be selfish. Go be alone and read some Ralph Waldo Emerson.

People in supermarkets: I know you have admired the Seinfeld close-talker episode for years. You want to gather in aisles and spit on each other as you talk… but please stop. Once they close trails, they’ll come for you. They’ll limit supermarkets to one at a time. Don’t be the reason.

Construction Workers: I still don’t see how you can still go to work when most people can’t. But I guess your work is essential to Summit County. Just please don’t take my ventilator when I need it.

Sheriff’s Department: Please don’t post any additional messages saying that “We’re your best friend bro. You can go to work anywhere and don’t really worry about anything ’cause we ain’t going to enforce shit.” People then take the law as a suggestion. That then leads to Basin Rec closing down our trails. I get the caring sentiment and the previous response to people posting incorrect ideas on social media, but now is the time we need enforcement.

County Council: You manage Basin Rec. Don’t let Basin Rec close down the trails. We will be in a world of hurt for so many reasons. People depend on the trails. Many people won’t follow the rules and will still go. People who do follow rules will get belligerent with those who don’t and that will be ugly. The only legal place to walk your dog will be down Main Street. No one wants to walk there these days.

Basin Rec: Don’t close the trails. It’s a terrible outcome for our community. If you are worried about dumbasses congregating, then ask for the County Council’s help. Ask them to put in place an ordinance that gives people three days of warnings. Then, after that, those people congregating WILL BE CHARGED with a misdemeanor that equates with a $100 fine. Then ask the Sheriff to add popular trailheads to the deputy’s normal routes and THEN FINE THOSE PEOPLE violating the law.

If you park one minute over the time limit, the meter maid has no problem giving you a $60 ticket. Shouldn’t our collective health be worth more?

When I first read Brian Hanton’s quote in KPCW, it seemed passive-aggressive. However, maybe that is the only tool Basin Rec has. That said, closing down the trail system isn’t the answer. People doing the right thing is. That requires people to look beyond themself.

Unfortunately, experience shows that many Parkites don’t have the ability to do that.

This mess is going to get worse before it gets better. The only question I have is whether things will get back to normal in the Fall.


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