I’d just put someone’s paper plate, tossed out of a vehicle onto my woodlot, into my trash bag, when I noticed an army of ants crawling out of the bag and up my arm. The ants had been finishing up the picnic lunch, I guess.
And that is the moment when I decided to post my woodlot. No trespassing for road slobs!
Yesterday was my second walk up the road to the woodlot to pick up trash. I own 150 acres with almost 2000 feet of road frontage. I’ve filled two big bags with trash so far and have several to go. And I can tell you this: road slobs drink Bud Light and smoke Marlboro cigarettes. They also eat a lot of fast food, which apparently runs out just when they get to my Mount Vernon woodlot.
But the variety of stuff I’ve collected is kind of amazing. Last year I found an empty package of condoms. The wording was in a foreign language but I knew right off what it was. The cover featured a photo of a couple, ahem, well you know.
Yes, picking up other people’s trash, cast carelessly out the window of their vehicle onto my woodlot, is a never ending enterprise.
The Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine will tell you that littering and trash dumping is the number one complaint of private landowners – and a major reason that land is posted No Trespassing. So if you access private land for your favorite outdoor activities, you might want to join in the clean-up on a regular basis.
We own 10 acres around our home, and many anglers like to fish the brook and pond behind our house, accessing those waters over our lawn. Two years ago Linda went out to ready the trail through the woods for the annual birding adventure that her first graders enjoy here every spring, and discovered our fire pit was full empty Bud Light cans.
I’d been disappointed that anglers were not appreciating the place, often leaving trash. One year I found a paper bag full of someone’s discarded lunch items and left it there all spring, but no one fishing there picked it up.
So after Linda’s discovery, I posted the land around the house “Access by permission only.” I have given permission to everyone who asked, with a request that they not leave trash. And so far, no one has done that.
So I’m going to post the woodlot with the same signs. I know they won’t stop drive-by slobs, but it will give me a chance to tell those who enjoy my woodlot that I’d appreciate it if they would help me keep it clean by picking up some trash when they are there.
And I’ll continue to do that for my neighbors, because I appreciate the access I enjoy to their land. I don’t take my regular walks now without carrying a plastic bag to pick up trash along the way.
I encourage you to do this too. But look out for ants!