Since we live on the river we try to walk along it daily weather permitting and sometimes not. Our section and much of the rest of the Upriver portion of the Skagit is designated as Wild and Scenic which is intended to protect it. It means that there is to be a balance between people’s desires to harness the river with dams, their recreational uses, and what activities are allowed along the shoreline. We only have 300 feet of it, but we walk a quarter mile section.
More often than not, we find some trash along the way. The most common finds are various lures and bits of fisherman detritus. Mostly these have been snagged by branches or rocks and are uncovered by a low river level. Occasionally we’ll find some cans or other trash left by other beachgoers, but not too often. The most common items are strange bits of human life that have been lost upstream and have found their way to our beach. Sometimes these have been lost for decades such as the pieces of old cars and logging cables. Sometimes a recent flood has washed someone’s trailer off its perch, down the bank and eventually into the Pacific. We pick up all these pieces and take them to the transfer station on one of our quarterly visits.
Friday, however, was different. Just slightly Upriver of us we found someone’s dump. What looked like an innocent pile of cedar boughs actually contained all manner of refuse. Luckily there didn’t seem to be much plastic or other actual trash, but there was a fair amount of steel and a few household items (glass and ceramic). Eventually these things would make the rest of their way down the bank and be washed away in a flood to be found somewhere Downriver. At least there didn’t seem to be anything toxic. The glass, ceramic and steel would eventually rust and break down.
But honestly, fence posts? 15 perfectly useable and 9 broken fence posts. Also some rebar bits. You know, these can be taken to the transfer station and recycled for free!
As luck would have it, I had just been contemplating the need for more fenceposts since I’m going to need to fence in my raspberries and blueberries to protect them from marauding chickens. Since I just string plastic mesh, these will do quite nicely. For me, those fenceposts were quite a find and will save a lot of money.
Of course, I’m still upset that someone would think that it’s okay to dump crap over the bank into the river. There are a few vestiges of that “old” thinking around. Watching people stock up on guns and ammo because of their delusions about the impending loss of the 2nd Amendment is slightly amusing, but thinking that the earth will just continue to absorb all of our waste that we choose to drop onto the ground, spill into our waterways, or spew into the air is frightening.
So, garage sale season is about to begin again. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more of them as people try to snag a little extra cash to keep the wolves at bay. Now’s a good time to think about what you need and start looking around the virtual garage sales of Craigslist and eBay and also the real life one down the street. The other fenceposts and a couple hundred lineal feet of chainlink came from a garage sale last season – free!
Let’s make sure that we turn more of our trash into treasure this year.