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October 4, 2013
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Editorial: Roses & thorns


Thanks a lot

Not even Joni Mitchell could object to what finally happened this week at the Roseburg National Cemetery off Harvard Avenue. They didn’t pave paradise to put up this parking lot.

Monday marked the opening of the new 88-space lot where visitors can park to walk to the cemetery and the adjacent Fir Grove Park soccer fields. It replaces a lot that bore no resemblance to paradise. If anything, people navigating the potholes, puddles and loose gravel once there probably felt as though they’d stumbled into the other place.

For years, frustration has been building over stalled efforts to find funding for a smooth, safe lot at the site. Instead of recounting a detailed history of all the disappointments, let’s focus on the fact that the nonprofit Guardian of Heroes group spearheaded a campaign to raise the $201,569 needed to construct the lot and pave a nearby path for bicycle and foot traffic. The bill was paid by public and private monies, with the community rallying to collect donations and pledges for in-kind contributions. Commemorative bricks have yet to be placed and a few other touches are needed, but the bulk of the work is completed. Now Guardian of Heroes is poised to fade into the sunset, mission accomplished.

Bravo to all who helped turn the wish into reality. Now cemetery and soccer field visitors can pull into the lot with confidence, whether by car, truck, van or big yellow taxi.


Blindly following GPS

Plugging into GPS is no excuse to unplug the most important navigation system of all — common sense.

The California couple who followed GPS directions into the southwest Douglas County wilderness last weekend were lucky. It could have turned out much worse. Such navigational blunders are potentially deadly.

By the time Douglas County Search and Rescue freed their 23-foot motor home, the couple had been stranded on something that resembled a logging road for two days.

They had left Interstate 5 at Glendale to cut over to Coos Bay. They got four miles west of Camas Valley before the forest closed in. Hemmed in by brush and fallen trees, the motor home, towing a trailer with a golf cart aboard, could move no more.

A glance at a map suggests it must have been tempting, especially if egged on by GPS, to try to a shortcut rather than driving to Central Douglas County to connect with Highway 42.

A second glance — and a little common sense — strongly advises to stick to main roads.


Toiling on the trail

You rarely see them at work, yet somehow they seem to know when there’s a downed tree blocking a trail. They lug chain saws to the location, cut out a section of the tree, and remove the impediment to hikers, bikers and equestrians.

We’re talking about those who maintain the North Umpqua Trail.

Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club member Rheo Wheeler suggested this past week that we recognize those who keep the trail in excellent condition. After hiking from Susan Creek to Swiftwater Park along the trail last Saturday, Wheeler remarked: “I’m sure most people don’t realize these things don’t take care of themselves and we feel these unsung workers deserve some recognition for maintaining an important link in our enjoyment of the outdoors. Keep up the excellent work.”

Those of us who enjoy using the trail agree that we’re fortunate to have such a beautiful trail in such good condition. We give particular appreciation to those who volunteer their time to the task.

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The News-Review Updated Oct 4, 2013 11:42AM Published Oct 10, 2013 07:20PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.