Winters transition into Spring here in Upstate New York can be dreary. The landscape is brown and the sky is often grey. The leaves have not popped and the grass struggles to turn green. The whole countryside looks like it has not woken from a long and deep snow covered sleep.
Ice fishing gear is cleaned and put away. The cover is taken off the boat. Flies are tied and fishing items low in stock are mail ordered. Rituals that are both fun and familiar are repeated. But early Spring, with its snow squalls and freezing rain, cold winds and brown colors, is not the most handsome time of year.
This past winter my ice fishing stretched well into the end of March. Those days found me traveling the Adirondacks, leading anglers on to thick ice in temperatures well above freezing. The air temps were so warm that the snow had melted away where it was not shaded by the forest. What I found at each and every boat launch made me sick.
Garbage, of every sort, strewn about the parking lots, trailheads, on the ice, in the woods. Litter. Discarded crap left by ignorant assholes. There is no excuse for the behavior of leaving your garbage at public access points or on state land. Or anywhere besides properly disposing of it.
What thought goes through someones head that would allow them to think that leaving their trash behind is acceptable? Do they think that the people in the green uniforms are going to pick-up their mess? I bet some of them do think this.
It is unfortunate that a handful of ice fishermen are often to blame for this disgraceful act. But from what I witnessed this past season, it is not just brain-dead ice fishermen who leave trash. The Adirondacks are seeing an incredible resurgence in use by people who are of recent introduction to camping and outdoor recreation.
Besides the simple premise that people who litter suck, there is another message written in the discarded beer cans, cigarette butts, candy wrappers and face masks; The increasing use of state lands and public infrastructure on state lands is overwhelming and it appears that a large percentage of the people using these resources have no respect for the resource.
This can only be changed through education and law enforcement. I do what I can to harass and berate people that I catch in the act of littering. And I always make a point to educate each of my guests on how valuable and important state access points and state land is to New Yorkers.
But it is quite rare that any guest of mine needs to be informed about littering or showing respect for natural resources and public access points. If they have read my rants and writing on this web site…Well they already know the deal.