In response to the opinion piece recently posted in the news section of the Los Alamos Daily Post titled “Horse Owners Share Thoughts On Bike Flow Trail” – I would like to address a particular piece of confusion that continues to be propagated in these articles and letters.
The statement that: “One issue horse owners have with having the bike flow trail in Bayo Canyon is that it would limit horseback riders’ access to trails in the canyon.” appears to be incorrect after having read the briefings/plans on the county website and attending the open space committee meetings.
With the existing multi-use trail systems in Bayo canyon, there are multiple trails where you’ll encounter cyclists, hikers/runners and horses. The proposed flow trail would actually alleviate the current scenario where everyone is on the same trail by having a new/separate trail for cyclists. There would be crossings across the existing Bayo canyon trail system, but I would expect that having a limited number of trail crossings (in areas of unrestricted visibility) would be preferable to having cyclists overtake horses on a tight trail. That said, I’ve seen several situations where horses and cyclists interact in Bayo canyon as well as on Kwage mesa, and I feel like everyone has figured out a way to work things out (i.e. giving way, being courteous, etc) so I’m honestly not certain that even our shared trail system is such an untenable scenario.
In the end, the planned flow trail in Bayo canyon in no way inhibits horseback riding in Bayo canyon.
There are larger problems associated with wider equestrian access to other parts of the Los Alamos county trail system (such as the now “too narrow” underpass at the North/Baranca Mesa round-about) but those and other issues should not be confused with the implementation of a trail that will benefit a large population of outdoor recreationalists and stands the potential of bringing in much needed tourism to our county.
Eric Peterson and others involved in the open space committee have done an admirable job in bringing this project along to this point. We, as a community, need to support these kinds of forward-thinking initiatives that other communities have embraced as a part of a well-rounded approach to recreation opportunity and tourism-based revenue generating options.