Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Recent letters to the Post Independent have exhibited a sad and growing trend in our country; real debate on issues is dying a slow death due to ignorance, generalization, and deliberate misrepresentation
In the April 14 edition of the PI, Brett Morrison decries the trashing of the Red Canyon/Mushroom Rock trail. He paints a picture of too much doggy doo, rude mountain bikers, litter, and a solution of citizen law enforcement (vigilantism). Somehow, the Hidden Gems proposal gets the blame. Huh?
In the same issue, Mike Yellico finds “the whole Hidden Gems Proposal unacceptable.” He berates horses for manure (what in the world do horse droppings have to do with wilderness designation?). He lists six Forest Service roads, claiming all are slated for closure by Hidden Gems. In truth, only one is to be closed, but by the WRNF Travel Management plan, not Hidden Gems.
On April 17, Jane Spaulding rails against the Hidden Gems over pine bark beetles and her inability to walk where her father’s ashes are scattered … Woods Lake. Woods Lake is private property, owned jointly by several owners. All the land around that property is Forest Service. 100 percent of it is open to the public. While the pine beetle epidemic is disheartening, the mitigation on Smuggler Mountain is far too expensive to perform on the millions of acres of affected public land.
And on April 19, Stacie West argues that “The government will close the lands – no hunting, camping, snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross country skiing, all of it.” Wilderness designation prohibits only one of those recreations: snowmobiling.
And finally, the KTM shop on Highway 82 brandishes a large sign claiming that Hidden Gems proposal will eliminate 8,900 Colorado jobs. References, please … the motorcycle and ROV industry has been hit particularly hard by the economic downturn, with the Motorcycle Industry Council showing a drop in annual sales of over 40 percent. Blaming those losses on wilderness designation is just flat untrue.
We need to address specific issues in public debate. Name-calling, faulting generalizations, falsehoods and non sequiturs serve nobody’s needs; they just muddy the waters and render us lesser human beings.
How many articles and studies have we read about physical activity? Likely quite a few – nearly all with the message of increasing activity for improved health.
Too many members of our community, unfortunately, aren’t heeding this call to action. We know the benefits of physical activity – it can prevent numerous chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, type II diabetes, obesity and more – but barriers seem to get in the way of the daily physical activity that can do so much to protect and improve health.
But there’s hope: May 3, 2010 is National Physical Activity Plan Launch Day, marking the release of a new plan with the goal of making it difficult not to be physically active. The National Physical Activity Plan (www.physicalactivityplan.org) is unique in that it’s focused on making societal changes to transform the role of movement in our lives. What if routine physical activity were simply integrated into daily life? More walkable neighborhoods; counseling from doctors on the importance of staying active; increased opportunities for physical activity and physical education in schools – all these are goals of the National Physical Activity Plan and will make our nation and community healthier – naturally.
Bringing about this shift involves changes in policy and buy-in from our elected officials. They’re the ones who can make the plan happen – putting into place policies and laws that create more walking paths to workplaces and encourage bike trails as an alternative to more sprawling roadways. I hope these lawmakers will take to heart the suggestions in the plan and will build a legacy around sustainable, long-term improvements to community health.
Individuals must act, as well. Beyond achieving your daily 30 minutes of physical activity, let your elected officials and organizational leaders know about the plan and why it’s important for your school, worksite, and community. You’ll enjoy the improved health that results – as will your children, your grandchildren, and the community.
See you on Launch Day!
ACSM Affiliate Member
Owner – Exclusive Athletic Club
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