At last, summer is starting to take shape in Summit County.
Residents are dragging their mountain bikes out of storage, readying their kayaks and filling their ice chests in preparation of venturing into the great outdoors after a long winter and an exceptionally wet spring.
Taking advantage of the many recreational opportunities in the Wasatch Back is something that nearly all of us who live in Summit County look forward to this time of year.
But those who enjoy nature’s bounty are bound by certain responsibilities. They are obligated to both leave the places they play no worse for the wear and ensure their enjoyment of the outdoors doesn’t prevent others from doing the same.
They’re the golden rules of recreation. Too often, though, people disregard them.
A troubling situation along the Weber River serves as a case in point. A popular stretch of the river widely used for rafting and fishing is so notorious for alcohol overconsumption, littering and general reckless behavior that officials from Summit and Morgan counties recently stepped in and began discussions about how to address the issue. While the situation at most recreation areas in Summit County isn’t quite so dire, the problem at the Weber River is representative of a larger phenomenon. Summer outdoor enthusiasts know it’s common to encounter unruly groups while attempting to select the perfect beachside spot at a reservoir or find leftover trash while unfurling a tent at a campsite in the Uinta Mountains.
And anyone who uses Summit County’s trails can attest that, while the vast majority of users are courteous, it only takes one inconsiderate person failing to clean up after their pet or riding a bike without regard for others for a pleasant afternoon to turn sour.
Fortunately, there’s an easy remedy: personal responsibility. The problems vanish if everyone does their part to keep our recreation areas pristine and pleasant. Realistically, that’s an unattainable goal — but there is truth to the cliche that every little bit helps.
Do your part this summer and count on your neighbors to do theirs. Together, we can ensure this summer is one to remember for all the right reasons.