Wild Northerner Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 4

There are more people than ever going outdoors in northern Ontario. This is good. There is more garbage in prime backcountry locations. This is bad. It looks to be getting worse. This is ugly.

I’m not perfect and have no problem admitting it. I know a few things though for certain when it comes to our region of wilderness. One, I love the outdoors. Two, I give it respect and clean up after myself. Heck, I’m one of those people that sometimes is forced to take out more garbage than I brought in because of previous campers.

Like most of you, I’ve been going outdoors since I was a kid. I’ve seen the trash left behind by irresponsible people over and over. It’s something I never get use to and am always utterly disappointed in the humans for leaving natural beauty smeared with their ignorance.

In recent years, I have noticed a spike in garbage left outdoors. I would gather a strong guess this has been experienced by those before us. Boat launches of all kinds seem to have become dumping zones.

More and more I find the leftovers from clueless anglers. Fishing line tangled in bush. Empty and smashed worm/leech containers. Pieces of tarp, rope and plastic. Jig heads and hooks.

It sucks. The people I go outdoors with have a high degree of respect for the outdoors as well. They get just as frustrated as I do when we see the

mounds of refuse.

I went to an old favourite camping/fishing spot earlier this year in a provincial park. It’s not far off the beaten track, but did require some work to get into and was, for the most part, not trampled by humans.

In two years, the place has become a highway and the corresponding increase in garbage has occurred. The best spot on the lake was a mess. Whoever was in there before us left all kinds of garbage

behind such as scorched pans, rags of soiled toilet paper and plastic cigar butts. They even built a makeshift toilet by cutting down some trees and hammering down a toilet seat lid on it. It was about 25-feet from where your tents go. Who the hell does that? Someone who should not be out there.

We went to Pukaskwa National Park in the summer. We arrived and were lucky enough to have the option of about 10 to 12 sites to pick from. We drove around. I liked one site. We stopped the truck and I got out and looked around it. In an instant, I was in shock.

I’ve never seen it before in any park or camping spot. I walked to the treeline of the campsite, which was about 10 to 15 feet from the firepit at most. There were toilet paper clumps everywhere. I looked down and to my disgust there was human waste on the ground. It was like a horror movie. My head spun around and the piles of human crap were all over. The stench then hit me. I could hear flies buzzing furiously. I turned and ran for the truck.

I couldn’t believe it. I still don’t. This was in the middle of a national park and the previous people were just going to the washroom at their campsite. What a disgrace.

I told the park attendant at the gatehouse after. She was rattled and blown away. It obviously hadn’t happened in her time of working there. I’ve seen some bad campsites, but nothing like that before.

Like I said, it is getting worse and I am not just some old man ranting about the way things use to be.

When it comes to nature, it should always be the way it used to be. Nature is pure and clean and beautiful. It doesn’t need change, especially the trash from humans.

It’s not hard to have respect for the wilderness. Pack out what you pack in. It’s always lighter. There is no excuse.

Have a wild time out there.

Respect for the wilderness always needed

Publisher's note