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Clean it Up! Protecting our Forests

One of my major pet peeves in recent years has been the increase in the amount of garbage I see in the New Brunswick woods. In my lifetime, as we have become more focused on recycling and reusing as much as possible, the end has come for the rural landfills.

It used to be, there was a "dump" in the country near everyplace you can imagine. These dumps often had a fire burning seemingly nonstop and they were largely unmonitored. You could just drive in and dump whatever you wanted at many of them. I can also remember time when we would drive to the dump to "see the bears" as after dark there would often be black bears feeding in the organic garbage.

Now that these dumps have been shut down there are "transfer stations" in a lot of communities, and we sort and recycle and compost much of our waste: something that we all should be thankful for. But the programs cost money, and are sometimes quite a distance from some rural areas, so now we are seeing more illegal dumping in the woods that we know and love. Our wilderness obsession team is very concerned to see this. Much of what is dumped us toxic to out outdoors and never should be thrown out there. Folks, there's better options out there than throwing that old refrigerator out in the woods because you are too cheap or too lazy to pay to dispose of it!

Naively I like to think that those who profess to love the outdoors are the least of the offenders. I hope we are. How can someone callously dump bags of garbage and plastic and shingles and all manner of trash in our woods and streams that claim to care about the animals and their environment? Those two stances do not compute!

Unfortunately, deep down I know it isn't true. There are many of you that are out there littering our woods with trash. How do I know this? Because I clean up after many of you in areas that if could only have been sportsmen who left the garbage. I pick up your cans and bottles from the woods roads. I clean up your shotgun shells and plastic wads that you can't be bothered to pick up. Some landowners in our province won't allow hunting simply because of the mess they leave behind! How sad...

As we move into 2015, I wish for a few positive changes from our sportsmen. If we could just do these few things, we would have a big impact on ‎how our sport is viewed and how hunters and fishermen are seen:

 

1. If you bring something unnatural into the woods, take it back out with you. How much time and effort does it take to pick up that shell casing or carry out that pop can of zip lock bag?

2. Leave the woods cleaner than you found it. If you see garbage in the woods, pick it up and take it out with you. No, you maybe didn't toss it there... but if you don't pick it up, who will?

3. Stop illegal dumping in our wilderness. Take the time and pay the dollars to dispose of your trash properly. If you can afford to buy that new TV or printer, you can afford to get rid of the old one properly. Stop it!

 

We are the ones should be kind of the guardians of our wilderness, our sport, and the animals. We spend more time out there than the average person so we see the messes. Let's stop making them and do MORE than our part to clean them up. 

In a hunters safety course, the instructor said there is about ten percent of our population who hunt, ten percent who are anti-hunting, and 80 percent who don't really have an opinion for of against the sport. Our behaviour can stay more of that large group one way of the other. If they see us as destructive slobs, why would they want to open up their wood lot to allow us access to hunt their land?

I teach these things to my son and try to live them out in hopes that he again will be a guardian and an ambassador as a good, ethical example to the non-hunters.

Next clean up day, why not bag up some if the trash at the end of that wood road you hunt on? If not you, who will do it?

2015-01-12 17:19:18

 

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