Find a trash can for that empty bottle.
On Sunday, a dedicated band of volunteers spent seven hours hacking their way along the Arkansas River south of Great Bend. Armed with weed whackers, chainsaws, loppers, rakes and other tools, their mission was to clear the mountain bike trail that had become overgrown with grass (some taller than them), shrubbery and other assorted vegetation (some with thorns).
Why would they spend their Sunday doing this? They cared about the beauty of nature and our ability to go out and experience it. We are so fortunate here in that we don’t have to travel miles and miles to see nature’s beauty. It is almost in our backyards.
Those working Sunday were mountain bikers, those who ride bicycles through such rugged wilderness. The trail they were working on was one that has been there for years but just needed some TLC.
However, all along the way, there were signs of those who don’t care about their surroundings. There were empty pop and beer bottles, empty pop and beer cans, plastic bags, food packages and other trash left by people who wanted to enjoy the natural setting, but thought it OK to trash it.
Along stretches of that path there were signs that this scenic treasure we call the Arkansas River has been abused like for decades. Old air conditioners, rusted metal buckets, glass bottles, and other decaying signs of civilization littered area as if it had been used as a waste dump.
This junk isn’t going away any time soon. It will sit there for decades more, as will the trash carelessly discarded by today’s river users.
Is this the legacy we want to leave for future generations?
Use of nature, like any natural resource, comes with responsibility. That responsibility is that we enjoy it now, but leave it in such a state that our children and their children can enjoy it as well.