Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One good change (mostly) in hiking

It was not so long ago that one could easily track turistus americanus by the amount of trash s/he left behind. As I've commented before (and may even find the link) the first voices raised against littering as a major American pastime belonged to conservatives. But they were paleo-conservatives: Today's variety seem to think it incumbent upon them to leave trails of trash as a political statement, just as they seem to think irresponsibility and excess in every aspect of resource management is a political statement.

It isn't: it's just trash: the thoughtless signature of selfish and stupid people.

The pleasant surprise both at Mount Monadnock and the Blue Hills was the relatively small amount of trash. The state park at Monadnock is "carry in-carry out," and visitors can't dispose of anything except paper towels in the rest rooms. This has been the case there for a long time, and the ethic seems to be sinking in. I don't recall whether the Blue Hills reservation has the same policy, but it wasn't far behind in neatness, nor was Willowdale.

I know this because I pick up trash that I find in wild places. It doesn't seem to be enough to take out what you bring in. To make a positive contribution, once should take out more than one brings. I'm happy that there isn't as much trash as there once was to carry out in either states' reservations. I wish I could say the same for my town's conservation land.

The worst—and most notorious—is the former railroad right of way known as "the path." For many years, the path was used daily by the town's middle school students to get to and from school, without undue incident. Several years back, the new high school was opened adjacent to the path and ever since, the trash quotient has increased.

In any town, the problem with managing high school students is that they are high school students. In an affluent town such as this, there's the additional problem of multi-generational privilege and sense of entitlement. Clearly, the concept of picking up after themselves has missed these youthful perpetrators. One has to think their parents never assimilated the idea either.

So yes, there are people picking up after you: regular users like me and conservation land volunteers. There's a big difference between us and the hired help you seem to expect to follow you with a broom: we're not paid to do it and we don't much like it. Given our druthers, cleaning up the path would be the default detention activity for all of you. If not that, then delicacy forbids that I should say where I'd like to put your trash, but the sun don't shine there.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home