"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Trail Maintenance and Trash

The project: Removing poison oak seedlings from the middle of a popular hiking trail, and, yep, more trash removal.

Not measured - the hike and associated recreation and work all totaled came to 7 hours.

Why bother?
I'm all for live and let live, 'til that something causes oozing rashes on my loved ones. I'm SURE poison oak serves some sort of purpose, but in our house, it's a heinous pest that should be eradicated - like ticks and mosquitoes. (At least rattlesnakes provide rodent control, but ticks? Mosquitoes?! POISON OAK!? NOTHING.)

The Snyder Trail to Knapp's Castle is a very popular route for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and, judging by the tracks we found today, at least one bear of considerable size. Most whiz past the oil-infested leaves that threaten to encroach upon the trail, but THESE suckers were RIGHT SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE of the trail. So much for that live-and-let-live attitude.

As for trash - we did a good thing for the trail in picking up bike parts, a CO2 cartridge (new), and other hikers' detritus. But when we arrived at Knapp's Castle, I felt like our garbage pickup was meaningless. There's so much trash at what has clearly become a drunken party spot (no one was there today - but the trash, and, OH, the glass!) I wouldn't even know where to start, let alone how we'd carry it the 3.5 miles back down the trail to our waiting van. (There's another parking area 1/4 mile or so uphill - perhaps this will be a group effort later this spring - if I can find any takers on the cleanup effort.)

Worth it?
If our poison oak scrapping saves a few others from that which is the Poison Oak Rash, absolutely. And picking up trash - well - it almost always feels worthwhile. Today, it felt like spitting in a rain barrel.

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