It’s that time of year – the (Un)official beginning of the summer vacation season – Memorial Day. Families packing up their bags and tossing them into the ol’ minivan or SUV to head out on the open road. It is really a great American tradition that I am glad to see still is important to people. But the sheer amount of people is really astonishing.
The numbers are staggering. Last year alone, Great Smoky Mountains National Park saw over 11 million visitors. And that is just one National Park in just one year! Add in all parks and forests across this country from the Federal level down to the City level and that number has got to be huge. There are a lot of us out and about visiting these places.
I have commented before how many nice people I have met and talked to the last few years of being in this new career. I have seen many of the same people quite often over the course of a few weeks in a particular area. It does not matter which place I have worked at…there are many who love a particular park/forest/refuge so much that they devote their time tirelessly and without pay other than what they get in sunsets. No matter why, or how, or where, special places are special places no matter the reason.
But the thing is, and it can be bad in some places at times, that people will dump anything they no longer want. From garbage to RVs…we see it all. Please everyone! Take your garbage home with you and dispose of it properly! Glass bottlers and beer cans do not burn – neither do banana peels, and those as well as orange rinds on the ground are garbage and NOT “biodegradable” or “compostable”. If you had enough room to BRING it, you have enough room to take it BACK with you.
Just remember, the special places we all love may not always be there so do what you can do to help by participating in some capacity. Get involved! Even if you do nothing more than keep a clean camp and teach your kids about the beauty and the well-deserved respect toward the outdoors, it makes a difference.
Those are just a few of the great and positive things you can do (and do easily and cheaply) and the possibilities are endless! It is important to SPEAK UP and be heard!