Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Donít vilify man who closed trails


I have known David Hennessy my entire life. During those 46 years, he has shown a high level of integrity and honesty. Locally, he has been involved with three major projects that I am aware of. Those projects are of high quality, employed several hundred people in their construction phases and today have legacy jobs of probably about 100 people.

He has used facilities under his company to hold local charity events, foregoing revenue, and attempting to do good for our community and our causes. He has held memorial services, hosted public meetings, while serving free food and beverages, and cleaned up after those events at his own cost. He has raised three children here after marrying a second-generation local. He has volunteered enormous time coaching youth sports for more than a dozen years, often coaching two sports in a single calendar year. That is not easy for a husband, dad and working man.

I too used the trails he has closed. My knobby bicycle tires left an impact, and I frequently saw cigarette butts, beer, soda and Red Bull cans, Powerbar, Clif Bar and gum wrappers, plastic bottles and, most noticeably, enormous amounts of dog poop. I also saw deer, elk, grouse, falcons, snakes, a moose once and even wolf tracks above Indian Creek, and was once turned around by a non-trail-sharing badger.

It's OK to be mad and OK to voice frustration. However, while the closing of these trails did happen in one night's time, the process was in motion from one year to four years, depending on viewpoint. I admit I did not follow the public political debate at all but the personal accusations toward David and the character assassination of him have been intense. I would like to thank him for allowing all of us to use those trails while he has been in control of the property. I recognize that neighborhood residents are frustrated and you can be, you lost backyard use of private lands. I just am frustrated that the attacks have been so sharp.

There are many viewpoints here, but most notably, David is a decent citizen to our community. As trail users, we need to do a better job of using the facilities we can use, both public and private. Out Adams Gulch, Nappy Neaman and Bob Rosso often have picked up all the poop and litter we leave behind, many times. I have not seen such an effort at the Carbonate trailhead, which is on someone's private land. I no longer use Carbonate because we're doing a bad job of taking care of it and it's private property. Out Sun Valley Road at the Proctor trailhead, Greenhorn Gulch, Chocolate Gulch, or what have you, we all are leaving impact, disturbing residents and can do more to make the experience for everyone better.

David Hennessy has done a lot of good things in and around our community and obviously the trail closures have impacted people. There are other trails available and we all have the ability to take care of them better. Privately held property is a fact of life. As a community, it is within us to respect it with greater care when we have the privilege of using it.

I have never once spoken to David about Quigley, but have become frustrated with the labels, negative remarks and character assassination of him. Our local government and David Hennessy have made decisions that have impacted citizens. No one is bad here—it was a democratic and multi-year process. Neighborhood users of Quigley are frustrated and are allowed to be, and I understand their viewpoint. However, I assure you that David is none of the negative things that some are voicing and printing in our newspaper.

Ted Kelley is a resident of Hailey.

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