If you’ve ever worked on a stream clean-up or similar conservation project, you understand how hard it is to find volunteers to pick up other people’s trash. Makes sense–it’s an incredibly unfair proposition that runs counter to the laws of rational self-interest and personal economy. “Please join with a very small group of people this Saturday to pick up a year’s supply of muddy, reeking filth left behind by lame-ass jerks and lazy shit-brains from all over the state”? Uh huh. Sign me up for that.
Whenever I go to these things I’m just perplexed. I mean really. I want to know who chucked a VHS copy of “Dances With Wolves” into the Logan River. And the passenger-side dashboard of a Hyndai–how did that get into the middle of Third Dam Reservoir? I’d really like to meet up with owners of every single flip-flop and red-and-white bobber I’ve retrieved. I’d love to chat with them sometime.
But sarcasm and bewilderment and smugness won’t pick up a single cigarette butt, beer can, or styrofoam worm cup. You fish, you hike, you camp. So, you gotta go. Spend a few minutes online or pick up a newspaper. Find out when it is. There’s a stream clean-up, streambank willow planting, or some other conservation project happening near you, and probably soon. Trout Unlimited’s National Stream Clean-up Day is June 23, but some states and chapters move that date to accommodate weather, run-off, and other factors.
Make all the wise-cracks you want, shake your head at how stupid some people’s kids are. You can even go ahead and feel all self-important and altruistic. You are entitled to do those things. Main thing is: you gotta go.