Over the past 32 years that I have been with the Grundy County Conservation Department, I have handled my share of trash. Pulling overly full trash liners out of 55 gallon drums in the middle of July can challenge your patience - especially if they contain the leftovers from fish cleaning. But that's not what this column is about this week. I have always figured that came with the territory.
Honestly, it is the picking up of trash strewn out across mowed play and picnic areas that is frustrating. I think we have ample trash receptacles available in the parks that is not the problem. It seems that some people cannot walk three steps to a trash receptacle. And then there are the times that you come across the remains of a group's beer party with cans and bottles scattered on the road, grass, and out in the un-mowed areas, as well.
But this column's topic isn't even so much that as it is the extraordinary trash that I have encountered over the years. It happened just the other day again. I drive down into the primitive camping area at Wolf Creek Park and what do I see but a pile of used landscaping blocks and wooden post deposited at the edge of the mowed area. Really. Did their mother raise them so poorly that they think it alright to do that?
I thought back for a minute over the many things that I have picked up out the county's parks and wildlife areas.
There have been piles of yard and garden trimmings too numerous to count. And of course they were in split open plastic garbage bags because I imagine these people do this very hurriedly as to not be discovered. They want to make their getaway a speedy one.
Then there are old worn out tires. Since it costs to properly dispose of old tires now, I guess it would be expected that a few people would choose a county park as the solution to that problem. Many times they are stacked neatly in a pile of four tires right beside the trash receptacle. Thanks for small favors.
The surprising thing to me that has shown up several times over the years are old windows. That's right when a remodeling project called for disposing of worn out storm windows or double hung windows, some people chose our (your) parks. And for some reason, when these people decided to discard the windows they have taken great effort to carry them back behind a row of conifer trees or down near a creek in the plum bushes. What's up with that?
Now, there have been a few bright spots over the years. Like the time that someone left a pay stub along with their trash by accident. There have been a few of those kind of times where we could trace back to the culprits but not enough. It works that way with vandalism of park property, as well. There was the time that we bent over to lift the sign that had been run over and the person's license plate was underneath. People don't always get away with it. Thanks for listening.