“Meadows resemble showroom floors / owls fly out of oven doors…”
—Broken Household Appliance National Forest, Grandaddy
There are homicides that I am willing to agree are justified, yet try as I might I cannot come up with a single, semi-reasonable rationalization for just junking your out-of-date iPod (so 2011) in nature.
Is it possible that there is a significant portion of the population raised in junkyards and never before exposed to the outside world? Do some Americans actually hold the perverse belief that littering is their right? Are there people who don’t know who Woodsy Owl is? I know the latter can’t be the case because he was featured in the South Park episode that parodied Inception (don’t pollute, m’kay).
Even under the ludicrously broad “mixed use” definition that applies to much of our public land, the ongoing desecration is becoming more pointedly idiotic and occurring with greater frequency. A recent article in The New York Times focused on the vandalism of natural landmarks and flora in national parks in the southwest; yes, the kids today are tagging the great saguaros.
I previously complained about the increasing litter and number of incidents associated with shooting on public lands. I also griped about those who feel the need to add to otherwise artful petroglyphs that served a much more pragmatic purpose than letting people know “Dave was here.”
But the problem stretches beyond the mouth-breathing morons whose most lasting marks on this world will be their initials on cactus and their disregard for those who follow. On a recent hike to what we thought would be a relatively remote and unspoiled patch of Pike National Forest, we encountered first the familiar ground covering of gun shells, beer cans/bottles and junk-food wrappers. The folks who used this area didn’t even bother with clay pigeons; they just shot the surrounding trees to shreds.
As we continued into what we hoped would eventually bear at least a slight resemblance to the natural world, the trash we passed included discarded computers (yes, multiple) and an iPod (toxic battery included) among other modern garbage. While the nearby beavers have advanced engineering skills, I don’t believe they have yet figured out how to recycle lithium.
I remember traveling rural roads in central Illinois as a child and seeing the occasional couch, refrigerator, bed or stove that had been chucked into the trees. “Who does that?” I once asked The Front Seat.
“Idiots,” came the answer.
Idiocy is no excuse anymore. We have computers now.
I know. I’ve seen them in the forest.