Another Thanksgiving is here, and with it the inevitable indulging on good food, good drink and good company. It is, of course, also a day to give thanks for what is important in our lives – our health, our family, our friends.
For those of us who love outdoor recreation, it’s also a good time to give thanks to the people who help make it fun and easy for us to enjoy hiking, cycling, running, horseback riding, camping and motorized fun.
The list of people to thank is a long one.
The list includes the staff at our city, county, state and national parks. In many cases they are operating on budgets below what they were ten years ago, even though demand for services and the population they serve has greatly increased. They have made a science of doing more and more with fewer dollars and fewer co-workers. They work in parks and on trails in the face of some users who treat our open spaces as their own dumping grounds, or who don’t like playing by societal standards of good behavior. Be thankful of them for their dedication.
Thanks to our city and county elected officials who put forth measures to dedicate tax revenue in excess of TABOR limits to go to specific parks projects. And, of course, many thanks to the voting public who have repeatedly and overwhelmingly approved those measures.
The staff at our parks couldn’t get nearly as much work done if it wasn’t for the many volunteers that accept some of the burden from the people who make their careers working in our public lands. Volunteers may man visitors centers, or take part in educational programs or get their hands dirty maintaining or building the trails that we use. Some volunteer on advisory boards or take part in special projects, providing the staff who administer our parks with the end-user perspective they need to make wise decisions. We owe the volunteers our thanks.
Many volunteers are members of park friends groups or groups representing people who participate in specific activities. There are groups for cycling, motor sports, horseback riding, running and hiking, all of whom advocate for their favorite form of recreation. Many of our parks have friends groups – almost all run by dedicated people who volunteer their time – that advocate for their favorite park. These groups may raise money, or they may devote “sweat equity”, or both to help park staff get things done, or to provide a venue for like minded enthusiasts. These groups deserve our thanks.
There are our friends and families to be thankful for. Either by participating with us, or encouraging us, or simply being okay with us taking time to do whatever we like to do outdoors. Our friends and families are our foundations in life, and without their support, we couldn’t enjoy our outdoor fun.
And finally, there is you. I am thankful, not only for my family and everyone I’ve already mentioned, but for you, reading this right now, and over the past 5 years. You have been loyal readers and many of you are also loyal listeners to my podcast. I am thankful for each of you for spending time with me, or saying “hi” when we meet on a trail or at some meeting or function. It means a lot to me.
Be Good. Do Good Things.
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob’s Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for almost 28 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: firstname.lastname@example.org.