The Camera recently questioned “is the Open Space being loved to death?“, with a photo of a hoard of people on the Chautauqua Meadow. The story mystified me. I am in the Open Space about 355 days a year, sun or blizzard and just don’t see it.
I recently made a point of visiting various trails in the Open Space at various times to view the problem.
First, many Open Space trail heads are remote and can accommodate about 30 cars,. That limits the number of people on the trails. On the 4th July I checked out Chautauqua, counting 66 cars on Baseline, and 104 in the parking lots. Groups were also walking in from the surrounding streets.
As there was only 2 or three groups on the The Green I assume the other visitors were on the trails in the area.
Call Chautauqua area and trails a Historical Area, call it an Urban Park, but do not call it Open Space. It is ludicrous to manage the further reaches of Doudy Draw (for example) with data collected from Chautauqua Meadow.
Next if you want to see wildlife, just set off early any morning. Nature owns the night trails and moves away as more people pass by. Even then, deer, bear and coyote frequently watch visitors from the shade of the tree line during the day.
Finally, apart from the urban parks, (Chautauqua etc) most of the Open Space is empty most of the working week, a few visitors in the morning, round lunchtime and more in the evenings. The rest of the day the trails are pretty empty.
Lets get the urban parks out of the OSMP and have relevant and imaginative, management practices for both, rather than one size fits all and pleasing no one.