[Ruth Karbach of Fort Worth, Texas, is an historian whose most recent work are two chapters in Grace and Gumption: Stories of Fort Worth Women, TCU Press, 2007. This is a comment she wrote in response to “Upper Llano Redoubt,” a recent post on the blog. Ruth’s statement brings out issues we will have to resolve in the outdoors.]
Last year my generous friend loaned me her home in the mountains of southern Colorado. Solitude to commune with nature after a tough twenty months dealing with terminal illness of my beloved and grief with his death was the solace I needed. Alerts about armed robberty on trails in the last couple of years were discouraging to hiking as a single female; but my two Shelties came to the rescue. We traveled many a trail during our week of “Rocky Mountain High” and meet some interesting people and critters.
Unprecedented in forty years of hiking state and national forest was being nearly hit by a mountain bike as I was helping my dogs up a four foot vertical embankment to get off the trail. The two teen riders did not slow, move over or stop after I had to throw myself onto the embankment to avoid an accident.
My husband was a naturalist at a nature center and refuge which prohibited this kind of traffic because of environmental damage, and Fort Worth supplies park rangers to patrol the largest city owned nature refuge in the Continental U. S. People unfamiliar with nature do destructive and unthinking things sometimes endangering animals and themselves.
With the present economy we are seeing more neglect and underfunding of the quality of life services such as libraries, parks and the arts. To me, this is the time when these services and talents are most needed. During the Great Depression greater wisdom in government caused a flowering of public arts, building of park structures and funding by local businesses and individuals of book purchases for libraries. Have we become too urban, too materialistic, too self-centered a people interested in immediate gratification? I hope not.