Litter is problem at Big Lake
Jeremy Bennett, manager of the Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, complimented the accomplishments of the young men working through the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) summer employment program.
"We have got a lot done with the help of the YCC workers and our summer wildlife management intern," Bennett said.
YCC workers are David Pasley, Zack Birmingham, Luke McLaughlin, and Hunter Bryan. Crew leader is Seth Fisher.
Markers have been added to the existing trail such as Bright's Trail and two new trails have been created. The YCC Trail near the bank of the fishing area west of Big Lake Bridge is clearly marked and ready for visitors. Another trail to the State Champion Overcup Oak Tree, the largest in the state, is now marked and ready for guests thanks to the work of the young men. "No littering" signs have been added.
Bennett said other projects include general maintenance work, trapping and banding wood ducks, taking surveys, and repair to the boat ramps.
On the other side, Bennett spoke of a major problem with visitors to Big Lake who leave their trash or use the lake area for a dumping ground.
"Our workers have to spend several hours, especially on Monday mornings near the fishing areas and boat access areas, picking up debris left behind by visitors," Bennett said. "Every day people will leave soda cans, bottles, paper, plastic, bait containers, etc. Last week someone dumped a mattress and an old child's swimming pool near the boat area. Our workers' time could be better spent working on projects to improve the area instead of having to pick up other people's trash. I would encourage visitors to pick up their trash. If the litter is not curtailed, we may have to look at regulating the hours the sites will be open. Littering and dumping are not only unsanitary, it is illegal. Big Lake is everyone's back yard. If anyone is caught in the act of littering, citations are issued. Citations have also been written when we find paper with names and addresses left behind. Big Lake is here for everyone's enjoyment and all we ask is for people to respect it by not leaving their trash behind."
Bennett said Big Lake is fortunate to have volunteers such as Dennis Perkins and others who take time to help pick up trash in an effort to keep it clean for the public to enjoy.
"Big Lake is a wonderful place and we appreciate everyone who will make the effort to help keep it nice by not leaving debris behind," Bennett said. "Anyone interested in coming out and helping clean up or volunteer for other projects may contact me at 564-2429."