Leaving a mess is not OK

I’m sure it was a lovely party. There were balloons and crepe paper decorating the area. Very nice. I wasn’t there for the celebration, but my husband and I were there afterward. It wasn’t in someone’s backyard. This was Captain Cook State Park in the picnic area overlooking Cook Inlet.

After a hard day of labor we headed up to our favorite spot to have a little fire and enjoy the sunset. What we found were balloons in the woods, pink, blue, and white. Busted balloon fragments in the bushes, too, and around on the drive. There was crepe paper thrown into a tall Birch tree, and although I’m sure some of it had been taken down, what wasn’t taken was the time to try to get more of it from the branches of the beautiful tree. Then there was the carpet someone had put down. Yes, a pretty carpet of silk flower petals led from the gravel drive onto the grass. Very pretty, but not natural, and not belonging on the grounds of the state park.

My thoughts turned to the latex and other chemicals from the balloons and crepe paper, choking hazard to animals and birds from the balloon fragments, and of course some of this debris landing in our own inlet. Those silk flowers have chemicals and are also may be a problem for wildlife. We spent forty-five minutes cleaning-up the mess that others had left, knowing that it was very unlikely the park hosts would be up there that night. After all, it was already after 11 p.m. Who knows what could have happened overnight?

Really, who wants to see pink and blue crepe paper all over a tree at the state park view area? I know I don’t. I’m sure a cursory clean-up was done, but what was left was not OK. The worse thing, the very worse thing, was that the smoke and flame was still going in the fire pit. Oh sure, it’s a metal pit, but what could happen with just one gust of wind and one little spark? It’s inexcusable and irresponsible.

There was evidence balloons had been stapled to the fence and the wooden traffic blocks, and fishing line was tied all along the fencing and left there. I guess I should say thanks for putting the aluminum cans in the fire pit. That was thoughtful. It wasn’t enough.

Shame on those who planned this little shindig, wedding, reception, party whatever for leaving that mess behind. Would it be too much to ask that someone commit to staying to clean-up behind the party-goers? It’s not OK to leave your mess for others.

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