Picking Up Trash
A couple weeks ago Jenni and I were able to volunteer for another litter clean up at Bald Rock Heritage Preserve. For those not familiar with it, Bald Rock is a large rock outcropping situated right on Hwy 276 as it climbs the mountain to Caesars Head State Park. Over the past several decades it has become the target of young lovers expressing their spray paint love for each other as well as leaving their trash behind.
We arrived in the parking lot about five minutes before the scheduled start time but the larger group had already dispersed to get a jump on collecting trash and beating the summer heat. We donned bright yellow protective gloves, grabbed a “pincher” for picking up trash, and a big blue trash bag. We headed down the right side of the rock.
When we joined the Friends of Bald Rock several months ago for a clean-up, we found huge amounts of trash including beer bottles, spray cans, and men’s underwear. The work of the volunteer organization was obvious this time. It was much cleaner. They have met monthly to keep the area more presentable and less of a target for litterbugs.
Jenni said she would patrol the upper rock and sent me down lower to an area I had never descended to before. At times I felt like I was picking up paint spray cans from the early 1980s—they just seemed that old. In all, I probably grabbed a dozen and a half but there was some comfort in thinking they were old and not recently discharged. I crawled down the granite rock until I reached a ravine where automobiles were dumped long, long ago. Someday they will be extracted but it will be a major endeavor to do so.
On my way back up, I met an older gentleman who had that Uncle Jesse look from Dukes of Hazzard. He was holding a cigar and a Yoo-Hoo and promised me he would pack it out when he was done! Without asking, he explained the cars were part of an insurance scam. I wondered if he had ever held title to one of them but didn’t pursue that conversation. Uncle Jesse was in favor of fencing the entire area and having it patrolled by the state park system. (If you’re familiar with the area, you know a fence isn’t going to work.) He also wanted me to write my congressmen but didn’t think our U.S. senators were worth a darn. Eventually I was able to break away from the conversation.
I was the last one back up the rock to the parking area. I had the heaviest bag thanks to a rain-soaked sweat suit someone had discarded. (I don’t even want to think about the events of THAT night.) In total the group collected 250 to 300 lbs. of trash.
On the drive home, Jenni and I compared the list of items we had placed in our bags. Probably the oddest thing that each of us found was shards of plates with a decorative pattern that included cursive writing. We both found them spread over a large area and I’m sure mine alone could have been reassembled into a couple plates. Jenni surmised they could have been the result of a divorce celebration; it certainly made sense to me.
The Friends of Bald Rock have several more cleanup days scheduled, including power washing graffiti at some of them. If being a part of the solution appeals to you, I urge you to get involved.