Mask up near others on trails, too

To the editor,

The dangers of COVID-19 transmission indoors means that, more than ever, the great outdoors is our refuge. Our sunny winter weather means that even cold temperatures are no obstacle to enjoying fresh air, golden light & the spirit-raising company of a happy canine.

Not surprisingly, Durango trails are somewhat crowded. I’m fortunate to be able to get out in Dalla Mountain Park or the lower loop of Animas Mountain frequently, and every time I’m surprised and disheartened by how few trail users wear a face covering. Maybe one in 10. What are the other nine people thinking, that being outdoors makes them (and me) invulnerable?

Trail users – particularly runners and bikers – are often huffing and puffing, passing others within a couple of feet on the narrow path where it’s impossible to safely socially distance. Simply put, any time we share the same tight breathing lane, virus transmission is possible. 

One passing hiker said to me, smiling, as I scrambled up the slope to keep some space between us, “I forgot my mask!” as if it were of no more consequence than an umbrella, not an essential precaution that could spare a loved one from the intensive care unit.

Please, Durango, wear a face-covering when you’re passing others while enjoying our trails. This simple measure can mean life or death for our most vulnerable, and if people cooperate, it will only be necessary for a short time.

– Clint McKnight, Durango