This was Swallowfield last week. I have been walking the dogs there nearly every week for months now, and never seen any garbage – not a thing.
And then the salmon run began, and the anglers came (though I’m not sure fishing is legal at this particular place, nor it is advisable during spawning in a year when stocks are depleted) – and THIS is the mess they left behind:
Well, actually, that’s just part of the mess – I didn’t touch the soiled toilet paper left all over the place, and the pile here doesn’t include the Tim Hortons coffee cups dropped liberally along the trail in.
Not only was there this crap left to polute the land and water, but the edge of the water was strewn with fishing line and packaging from fishing supplies. And all along the edge of the water were discarded fish parts - they filleted their fish and just dumped the remains.
This is illegal - fish must be transported whole, head and tail intact. I know this because I once got caught with beheaded, cleaned fish when I was transporting them in the teeny tiny freezer of an small motorhome I once owned. Fortunately the fisheries inspector let me off with a warning.
I love to fish. I consider myself an angler. But I would never, never, never pollute the very land and water that gives life to the fish and balm to my soul. How can these people who eat nature’s bounty, who fish in this beautiful place, walk away from this mess without so much as a backward glance? For shame!
To get away from the mess, we walked passed our favourite (now garbage-strewn) spot and across the estuary. Fortunately, the anglers had been too lazy to walk out that far – no garbage here. The tide was the highest we had ever seen it, huge salmon were flipping around in the deeper pools, and the autumn colours provided a beautiful backdrop against which to enjoy an afternoon out.
Fall on the estuary
On the return hike, we took a detour to a part of the delta I hadn't seen before. There we found hills covered with small bright green ferns, evergreens laden with cones, and ripening grapes planted long ago by the homesteader on this land. Among the grape and blackberry vines we found winter crocuses and the old stone foundations of a house.
Hills of green fern
Bough laden with cones
Stone foundation amid the vines
Grapes and old stone foundation
We left nothing but our footprints, we took nothing but photos.
What a shame the anglers did not do the same.