Bob Belas Photography Blog

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Hollofield Trash 1, color

When I started this webpage several years ago, I wanted to keep it focused on photography, nature, and wildlife, leaving statements to others. However, I feel strongly compelled to say something that affects me as well as any lover of nature and wildlife: the wanton dumping of trash in our state parks and wildlife areas. As a hiker and fisherman, I frequent the Patapsco River area and nearby reservoirs and lakes on a weekly basis. At these sites and particularly at the Patapsco River Hollofield area (downstream from the Hollofield bridge), I have witnessed repeated dumping of large amounts of trash often, as seen in the photograph above, directly next to signs clearly stating that doing so is a violation, not to mention an affront to 'common sense'. If this occurred once in a while, I suppose I'd write it off as an aberration, but it doesn't occur occasionally: I see a manifestation of this every time I go out to fish or hike. Fishermen leave their bait containers, plastic water bottles, food wrappers, spent monofilament line, hooks, and lures. Others leave the leftovers from picnics and parties (as witnessed in the photograph). Still other leave religious artifacts and shrines behind. (I learned of the hindu festival of ganesh after wondering why there were clay statues of that hindu god submerged in the Patapsco last year.) I have seen all of these and more littering the streams, banks and areas adjacent to the Patapsco and bodies of water that we use for recreation as well as drinking water supplies, i.e., Liberty and Loch Raven reservoirs. And it disgusts me.

In particular, the Hollofield area of Patapsco State Park is highly trafficked by fishermen, bathers, tubers and kayakers, as well as others seeking a spot for a summertime picnic or other activity. It's wonderful to have such a place as the Patapsco River and the State Park, and to be able to enjoy it and and the natural environment around the area. I think it is reasonable to assume that people who visit Hollofield do so because they enjoy being in this natural setting so close to Baltimore city. So, why would anyone want to diminish the pleasure of communing with nature by leaving their trash behind? Are they under the false belief that their trash is someone else's concern? That it will be picked up and removed by others? What others? Sadly, there are no others, except for a limited number of volunteers and good samaritans who take it upon themselves to remove the trash others leave behind. I thank them for those efforts, and ask everyone to do their part in helping keep these bodies of water free from trash.

Best wishes,