Patience on the Trail with Mother Nature

This morning, as with most mornings, I went for a hike. I went on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) in Provo Canyon. I visit the Trail frequently because it is close to where I live and allows me to get miles in and do so in the time frame that I have before I start my work day.

Two signs on the entrance to an offshoot from the main BST trail clearly indicated the trail is closed

This part of this trail is where the “Range Fire” from last October ravaged thousands of acres in the canyon as shown in the photos below. The fire was actually started by mistake at the police firing range that coincidentally happens to be located at the trailhead to the BST.

As a result of the fire, the BST and its network of trails were closed. This was a decision to allow for restoration of the area. This spring, the main trail of the BST was re-opened. However, none of its offshoot trails were opened.

It wasn’t long after the main BST opened, that the additonal offshoot trails were opened.

I was thrilled to see the sign stating that additional trails were opened. As shown in the sign, the trails south of the BST were open and the ones to the north remained closed.

There are signs posted on every trail entrance stating this fact. Some of the signs, like the one at the top of this post, are stuck in the ground right in the middle of the trail. In fact, that trail has two signs at the entrance.

There is no way to miss them!

This morning as was hiking on the trail, I noticed some people who were biking and running north of the BST.

Initially, I was quite frustrated and annoyed. I started walking towards the trail entrance where the two signs are posted. As I was taking the picture of the entrance with the signs. A lady had who was coming down from the closed section of the trail on her run and passed right by me and then continued by joining one of the offshoot trails that was actually open south of the Bonneville Trail.

Another very clear posting about the trails being closed
Many trails have other indicators that they are closed, like rocks blocking the entrance, police line tap and the trails being covered in burnt tree limbs.

I so wanted to say something snarky to her making sure she knew that the trails were closed. I wanted to look her in the eye as she ran by me and ask her, “Don’t you know those trails are closed? Did you not see the signs? How dare you?”

However, there is no way she didn’t know the trails were closed. She had to run by at least two signs, if not more, on her way. Saying anything to her was not going to be helpful and it was likely only going to be create contention.

I chose to keep my mouth shut and continued on my hike. 

And as I continued hiking I noticed several scenes of beautiful flowers blossoming in the midst of the burned out and damaged areas caused by the fire.

One of the several flowers I saw growing in the affect burn area

A light bulb went off in my head and said this is exactly why we need to respect the Wildlife Management Area and why the in the trails were closed.

Another patch of flowers in the midst of the charred trees

We need to give Mother Nature the space and time to do her work. She did not create the fire, but she certainly knows how to fix the damage left in its wake.

It will require some patience and sacrifice, but in the long run, it’s going to make a big difference for the canyon and for all of us who love to enjoy it.

At the risk of sounding too “judgy”, I need to say that while I was concerned seeing a runner and a cyclist ignore the signs on the trail, I can TOTALLY understand the desire to go there.

The trails north of the BST are absolutely fabulous and magical the deeper you get. I have to be honest and confess they have been calling me all season.

However if I want to enjoy them for decades and decades to come and want them to return to their normal habitat as quickly as possible, I must put that yearning aside and be patient and enjoy the trails that are open.

Grasses and flowers have come back in the fire area.

And the good news is there are many trails that are open. In fact, almost all trails in our area are open making the need to go on the closed trails diminished. I just think most people are not fully thinking through the situation.

And while my initial reaction is frustration coupled with a little bit of anger, I need to look for ways to create connection and understanding. I can do this through compassion about their wanting to run on those wonderful trails and maybe use that as a starting point to help build awareness and help foster some patience.

If you feel the same, I hope you will join me in partnering with all those who are willing to hold off and also partner with Mother Nature to allow her to do her miraculous work.

We need patience with each other and with Mother Nature.

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