Some recent discoveries have caused me to consider the garbage and pollution we leave behind.
I’ve been trying to decide which is worst. What do you think?
A. Party debris at the GFSS Wolf Track I Lower Granby Trail
B. Deflated helium balloon on the Wolf Track
C. Cigarette butt on a Goat Mountain trail
D. All of the above
E. Emissions from my vehicle as I drive to these trails
Volume and visibility would suggest that A is the right answer. However, this mess was really easy to clean up. No bottles were broken, nothing was more than a half-hearted toss from the campfire, the containers weren’t thrown out along the roadside or in the bush, and they were left in a gravel parking lot that isn’t very scenic anyhow. (Incidentally, in case you’re wondering if this is your stuff, the find includes five Miller bottles, eight Lucky cans, one Sawmill Creek wine bottle, three Lime-a-Rite cans, one Monster Energy can—and one diaper! Obviously you’d leave the booze containers in case you got stopped on the road, but what’s with the diaper? Hey kids, you’re never too young to start cleaning up after yourselves!)
The “Happy Birthday” helium balloon in B was small and seemingly insignificant, but was the only garbage found on nearly five kilometres of pristine riverside trails. It wasn’t even dropped there on purpose. However, it was intentionally launched by someone, somewhere, who apparently didn’t know that most of what goes up inevitably comes down. Someone who likely doesn’t litter, especially in a wilderness. Most likely a child, but who provided the balloon?
Think of the places where you would least want or expect to find garbage. That’s where you’ll find helium balloons.
The cigarette butt in choice C appeared about 300 metres elevation above the Goat Mountain parking area on a section of old trail close to a creek. Tiny but significant, discarded by someone who obviously enjoys a beautiful hike but then leaves garbage behind. At least the butt was on a damp piece of trail and was stepped on, so there was no danger of fire. This time.
D is the easy choice for those of us who can’t make up our minds.
E? Just kidding. Obviously the wrong answer. I can’t be harming the environment just by driving to these trails. Like, if I believed that, I couldn’t go there any more, not with my dog anyhow. Can’t be E.
– Ed Matthews, Grand Forks