Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday, October 7 - Elk Meadow Open Space

Run: Wednesday, October 7th - Meadow View Trail
Time: 1:00
Distance: 7.53 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Partly cloudy and cool

Early evening run on the trails of Elk Meadow Open Space.

Started on the roads, running up Quarterhorse Road to its apex, with fabulous views to the west. Followed the dirt road and connected into the off-leash dog park part of Elk Meadow.

Interestingly, JeffCo Open Space is making a valiant attempt to close a bunch of social trails in this area, including one of the trails I regularly use for this run. I glanced at the posted proposed trail map (which was complete with all the social trails marked in red). Some of the trails they are proposing closing will leave big parts of this area without trail access. I am a big proponent of building sustainable trails and closing networks of redundant social trails...especially those that are likely to cause erosion, put people into sensitive areas (i.e. wetlands, raptor nesting areas, rare plant sites, etc...) or cross private property.

I fear what JeffCo plans for this area, though, will be largely ignored, especially since there has been minimal, if any, attempts at gathering public input. Our local weekly paper covered the story here.

From the dog park area, I crossed Stagecoach and did most of the usual Elk Meadow - Painters Pause - Sleepy S Loop. I stopped about half-mile from the end at my kids' school and picked them up for the 1/2 mile walk home.

All-in-all, 7.53 miles in one hour with about 1,100 feet of elevation gain.

Bonus: Cool study by Nature Conservancy chief scientist Peter Kareiva and others on the correlation between being a hiker/backpacker and later-in-life giving to conservation organizations.

Their finding:

Specifically: Each hiker or backpacker translates to $200-300 of future
annual giving to conservation, typically 10+ years after their hiking and backpacking experiences.

Kareiva points out in a Nature Conservancy blog post that conservation groups could one day be in for a day of reckoning because fewer and fewer kids today are getting out into nature, visiting national parks, etc... Nature deficit disorder due, studies show, to the rising use of computers, video games and the like. Where will all the future conservation donors come from?

In his post, Karieva writes:

The reason our analyses should be followed up by better studies is simple: If our conclusions are right, then conservation could be in big trouble. Why? Because after one accounts for growing population levels, the current generation of children is simply not getting the nature recreation that previous generations did. How can you love nature if you do not know nature?

Read the paper here.

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