Thursday, February 10, 2011

Littering at Kennesaw National Park

Kennesaw National Park is a place everyone in Georgia has heard of. Kennesaw National Park is home to the mountain that stood tall while the Union soldiers and the Confederates did battle in Marietta during the Civil War, almost two hundred years ago. It is one of Georgia’s proudest possessions.

Today, it is a tourist attraction for families and for history enthusiasts and it has been for decades. Of course, being a park Kennesaw Mountain has encountered one of the biggest problems in the world, litter. Litter always follows establishments committed by people who have zero regard for the environment or their Mother Earth.

There are rangers and volunteers who search all throughout the day for litter. The area most at risk for littering is the actual trail, not the area where picnics take place because of the several trash cans in that area and the convenience.

“Kennesaw is a beautiful park and luckily I believe the littering here is nowhere near as bad as other parks. If people are unruly they will be escorted down the mountain. Alcohol is prohibited as well, as it can and usually does in this area create problems,” said park ranger Charles Marble who has been with Kennesaw National Park for three years and two years with another park in Utah.

“I think the main thing to do about stopping littering is not having alcohol consumed on the trail because not only is there litter there is broken glass making it dangerous to pick up,” he said.

“The thing people fail to realize is the reason why this park is in existence is because of the history that has taken place. That means it was deemed historically significant to be protected,” said Marble. The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain took place in 1864 with more than 5,000 soldiers killed. Many people are sensitive to that time of history.

Kennesaw Mountain also has programs to combat littering for children and adults it is called litter control. Adults and children are welcome to sign up and volunteer for litter control. However, children under the age of 16 are strictly supervised by the adult volunteers. Many of the children that volunteer are at least pre-teens and the younger ones are usually accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“Children are a big help to littering at Kennesaw. It would be nice, however, if we had more adults and teens help,” said Lauren Brown one of the volunteer coordinators at Kennesaw National Park. “Children have to be supervised 24/7 and do not get as much freedom as older children would.”

“We have to have the young ones in sight at all times,” said Brown, which causes a lot of time wasted and not a lot of ground to cover as it takes time in one area if the children have to be supervised.

Hiker Amy Thompson says she does not see much litter while hiking. However she does see dog droppings on the trail.

“It is very annoying because there are dog dispensers all over the trail, I’ve actually stepped in it once and it really pissed me off and ruined my day and hike. There are signs that say to please pull your dog to the side if your dog needs to go,” she said

“Many do not care. If the park thinks littering is a problem, they need to focus on people with their dogs. Many more people are comfortable holding a cup or something until a trash can is found but dog waste not so much so people just leave it,” said Thompson.

Is littering really that bad an issue or is it dog droppings? It is in the opinions of the hikers. While one believes there is a lot of littering or not. It undoubtedly does occur and may be almost impossible to get rid of completely. Kennesaw Mountain is a beautiful place for all sorts of people but not for the ones who are disrespectful. More volunteers are needed at Kennesaw Mountain to preserve this place. More waste disposals are also more things that are needed to contribute to the park.

Kennesaw Battlefield has been around for more than a century, and centuries from now it will still be there educating generations about the history around it. Not only does Kennesaw National Park need help, but the environment of the Kennesaw community could be better. The volunteers for litter control go through designated areas to pick up garbage. Certain areas have certain times; they do not pick up trash in secluded areas at night for obvious reasons. If glass or an unidentified liquid is spotted a volunteer must tell the coordinator or ranger and not touch it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Blog: A year later

Exactly a year later, I am doing another blog for the same professor. Ironic, non?