First off, let’s clear one thing up: I have not posted 400 photos of odd things I’ve found dumped in the woods.
It only seems that way.
Rare is a day, in fact, that I head into the (supposedly) pristine forests of Maine when I don’t find something that’s not supposed to be there.
Like the recliner that someone dumped (and others, apparently, decided to sit in while deer hunting). Or your average household garbage, like the stinking leftovers of what was surely an epic lobster feed. Or like propane tanks, and full garbage bags, and air filters. Yes, air filters.
Today’s find, however, was much more shocking. And again, it illustrated the huge problem that landowners face when they allow us — all of us — to access their property for our recreational activities.
Over the weekend, while putting up a couple of hunting blinds (with permission from the landowner, by the way), my buddy Chris and I came across this large boat, which had been left in a turnout on a remote gravel road.
A couple of panes of glass from the windshield had been shattered, there were no registration numbers visible, and someone had painted “FREE” on the side. Large sheets of white plastic lay beside the boat, and behind it, closer to the woods, was a gas grill that Chris said he’d first seen last November, during hunting season.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has a landowner relations program that deals with situations like this, so I contacted a couple of game wardens I know, and passed along whatever information I could.
I hope the Maine Warden Service is able to identify the owner of the boat, and figure out who dumped it in woods that so many of us are lucky enough to access.
And I hope that if you come across dump sites in the woods you frequent, you pack the trash out (if possible), or let the Maine Forest Service or Maine Warden Service know what you’ve found.
Simply put, there’s a pretty simple solution to acts like this. The landowners could erect gates. They could deny access.
And none of us want that.
Today’s message has been shared thousands of times by people more influential than me: Treat the land like it’s your own.
Or even better than that.