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Reflections on civic mindedness

December 6, 2012

Having been performing litter control duties on behalf of the National Park Service at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area for over 40 years, I have one reflection that comes to mind that stands out above all others concerning a particular social phenomenon. One would think that our National Parks would be a matter of pride with the public since these lovely landscapes represent our nation’s beauty, wildlife and history. Pride in these places seems not to affect those who visit, however.

In fact, these lovely landscapes are heavily abused, trashed and dumped on by the public. At the same time, this sad fact of life apparently offends no one because no defense, or very little, is offered to protect this precious resource. No good citizens appear from among the park’s visitors or outdoor enthusiasts to protect this fine resource. In theory, the National Parks should be the cleanest and best looked after, especially by those mentioned above.

Recently while cleaning trash left by illegal campers at the Blue Mountain Lakes site in New Jersey, I found plastic water containers, beer cans, plastic packaging and utensils on the ground, not far from a trash receptacle provided by the park service. All I could see was the total lack of civic mindedness or leadership on the part of the group or groups that left the garbage. Not one person took it upon themselves to be responsible, or to encourage those individuals not to behave in this disrespectful manner.

Sorry, but in 40 years of policing up, no signs of patriotism have been observed.

Nick R. Homyak
Lake Hiawatha, NJ