I regularly visit the lake near here which is also the reservoir water supply for the nearby town, and which is therefore off limits for swimming, boating, and except for one reserved area near the dam end, fishing. It's one of those places which Vermonters take for granted but which, when you stop and look at it, is actually pretty breathtakingly picturesque. Local folks might buy a calendar with pictures like this lake on it, and never think of the lake right down the road.
Even so, I expect a certain level of care for their surroundings out of Vermonters that I don't expect from Americans in general. We're supposed to know better what we've got and why it has to be preserved, and that's why we're here, and why we still have it.
So I'm particularly irked that I find so much trash there. A couple of weeks ago, while the dog was romping at the lake's edge, I took one of the doggy-doo bags and filled it -- to the brim! -- with trash, just by picking up the easy-to-reach things right at the water's edge. It's a pain to haul something like that back from the lake on my bike, but I thought it would be nice to leave the place cleaner than I found it, and maybe that cleanliness would last a while. Today, without even trying, I filled another bag of the same size... so all that effort was for naught.
This is not a very easy to find spot, and I doubt anyone other than locals even know it's there, so this trash isn't being left by tourists. It's the very people who come here because it's pristine and perfect that are leaving food wrappers, Starbucks cups, packaging from fishing lures, and so many cigarette butts. (Why do smokers who would never litter generally, so often consider their butts to be some kind of exception?)
And after a few minutes prowling for trash while my dog romps on her leash, I get so attuned to it that the whole ride back I can't help seeing every bit of trash on the side of the road, and I think I could fill a kitchen bag easily on just one side of the road on this trip of a couple of miles. If I did, how soon would I need to do it again?
It actually makes me want to write a grumpy letter to the editor of the local paper, which is absurd because I always roll my eyes at those kinds of letters and the idea that they might make any difference. But I can't get into my head why anyone would do that. Sure, a little bit here and there is inevitable, but this much, this fast? It's inexcusable. How can I not want to find someone doing it and shake their shoulders shouting "Why?"