HIKE PHOTO 7 (copy)

Hike for Life guide Jason McEwen, right, leads Heidi Fessler along the Edna Mae Bennet Trail as they hike last month through Palmer Park in Colorado Springs. CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE

Please vote.

Early returns point to a dismal turnout this election. Some of the ballot language is complex, and some of the issues aren’t all that compelling. I, for one, would much rather be out hiking than poring over a voter guide. But your vote will determine how millions of dollars are spent locally and across the state for years to come.

When voters approved TABOR, they essentially promised to shoulder more of the decision-making responsibility. We all agreed to mind the purse strings. It’s not OK to abdicate that role. If one of our elected officials didn’t show up for the budget vote, constituents would howl. So now is the time to prod our friends and neighbors to vote.

The Trails and Open Space Coalition has come out in support of 1A, 2C and 2D because we believe all three have provisions that will improve trails, parks and open spaces in the city and county. If you value those assets, take time to learn what’s at stake.

Since the death of Colin Powell, I’ve enjoyed reading the words of friends and those he mentored. The stories of his ordinary childhood, remarkable career and overall character are sweet water to those thirsting for heroes. Yet I’m reminded almost daily that we are surrounded by local heroes: the couple who spends hours each week cleaning the dog park, the veteran who recently donated a kidney to a complete stranger and the volunteers who will serve the homeless on Thanksgiving.

Powell had 13 rules for success. If you are unfamiliar, I’d suggest looking them up. My favorites are:

2. Get mad and then get over it.

6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.

10. Remain calm. Be kind.

Words of wisdom during this election season. Take time to vote and then go for a hike.

Susan Davies is executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

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