Please cut it out with the shoreline trash!

The recent thawing of snow caused my temperature to rise a bit. Yes, I was glad to see the snow go away, but I was thoroughly disgusted, too. That’s because I made a trip to the Outlet Fishing Area below Lake Darling Dam, where the absence of snow revealed an infinite variety of garbage strewn about the area.

You name it, it was there. Carcasses of fish, filet knives, fishing line, rusty hooks, wrappers and packaging of all sorts, bottles, cans, bobbers, rod holders, a couple of ice fishing rods and countless other stuff that didn’t belong there. In short, the place was a mess and a cause for embarrassment for all outdoors-types who strive to respect their surroundings. As every Cub Scout and Boy Scout knows, that means always leaving an area in better condition than when you arrived.

Slob fishermen and/or slob outdoorsmen don’t care that they are responsible for ruining prime areas for others. They thrust a rotten name on real fishermen and outdoorsmen and women who would never trash the very ground they enjoy. Real fishermen and outdoorsmen do not create an image infinitely damaging to others who enjoy the outdoors. To them, throwing trash on the ground is unthinkable.

What part of “Keep it clean so others may enjoy it, too” is hard for some people to understand? I know of areas that have been closed because a few of those who frequented them continually made a mess of the place. Access is everything in the outdoor world today. A few slobs can mess it up for everybody. On the positive side, I’ve witnessed on more than one occasion when good Samaritans, concerned outdoorsmen, grabbed a bag and picked up disgusting trash and litter left by others along shorelines and picnic areas.

Shoreline fishing is a very popular activity in North Dakota and it is about to get under way in earnest. It’s also one in which a few slobs can cause a fishing area to be shut down for everybody. It is up to fishermen everywhere to properly police themselves. Most do a very good job of packing their trash. Others never seem to get the message, and it is those who need to be reminded of what’s at stake when they leave a mess, no matter how small, for others to clean up.

Everything left behind ruins the experience for the next person. Litter, especially in areas that are visitation points for anyone wishing to enjoy the outdoors, is totally unacceptable. Shorebirds become entangled in fishing line, rotting fish attracts flies, discarded hooks and lures are dangerous to small feet. Broken glass is a danger, too.

Despite all that, the biggest danger remains the slobs that don’t give a rip about the mess they leave behind or the possible loss of future access to the very area they enjoyed. Thank goodness for those who care enough to clean up other people’s messes. They “get it,” and don’t want to see a senseless few ruin it for everybody.