Leave No Trace

We’ve all seen this. We’ve all been there. You make the trek into a spot only to find it trashed by the local youth and the uninformed adults. A recent trip to a little spot on Crooked Creek right beside the First National Bank Soccer Complex in Harrison,AR, showed me that there isn’t enough talk about Leave No Trace.

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The soccer complex holds the rest of the walking path that starts in the city park a little farther downstream. Just off the walking path is a tiny path leading to the creek. Here is a little bluff with a spring spilling out of it, a tiny shoal babbling into a little pool. A peaceful spot to sit and relax.

After a trip to Baker Prairie, I was looking forward to hanging out and reviewing the mornings pictures. When I arrived at the spot I was dismayed, no I was angry, to find the spot horribly littered. Chip bags, pizza box, beer and soda cans, a condom wrapper, packaging from fishing tackle, plastic drinking cups from a local gas station, and broken glass from beer bottles.

There was even the shopping bags these items were brought there in. Which was good as I didn’t have any. So I “rolled up my sleeves” and went to work. I totally filled the two shopping bags with the trash; I felt rain drops so I headed for the truck feeling both mad at finding the spot trashed and pretty good after cleaning it up.

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I parked at a spot just outside the soccer complex parking lot, the complex lot is gated, where there is a dumpster owned by Inland Service Corporation. Arriving at the truck I set my pack down, and walked to the dumpster only to find it locked.

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Seriously? Locked? I was under the assumption that a trash company’s job was to collect trash, not prevent people from disposing of their trash. Here is a public use walking path without a trash receptacle within at least a half mile. It’s probably more like 3/4 mile.

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I lost it. I yelled and screamed language not appropriate here. After a couple of minutes of this, I set the bags on top of the dumpster, photographed the company info that was on the front, and left.

It should be said a couple years ago Harrison Parks and Recreation started mowing and removing brush from the area along the creek to open views for the walkers. It definitely added to the aesthetics of the park overall. So pretty much they opened a view onto trashed areas like this one. Why not take the time to pick up the trash along the creek as well? It only makes sense. But I’ve wandered from the point.

In this world where our oceans, lakes, rivers, creeks, and natural areas are becoming mire and more polluted and trashed why are dumpsters being locked and signs like “No Illegal Dumping being posted? A company like Inland should be glad to accept trash from any source regardless of the bottom line.

The bottom line has come to rule this country so much so that trash cans are disappearing from state and national parks. In Harrison,AR the city isn’t willing to foot the bill year round for that dumpster. This is probably happening in communities around the country.

Trash and people go hand in hand. Where there are people, there is trash. When a trash service simply practicing Leave No Trace would leave the country and its natural and wild places, as well as our water resources, a much cleaner place. Not just for ourselves but for generations to come. We are not the only people in existence. Our kids deserve the world in a better state than what we have it in.

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So please when you are out hiking, or even at your city park, lets take only pictures and leave only footprints. (Side note: I should not have left those two bags of trash on the top of that dumpster. I made a hypocrite out of myself.)

Happy Trails!

PigTrailEric

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