Angus Phillips's tale of his first trip down Little Falls ["Paddlers Experience Big Thrills Running the Rapids of Little Falls," Sports, July 6] captured the emotions of every boater who first encounters this wonderful whitewater trip. Many are surprised to learn this nearby rapid, which varies from Class III to Class V (on a scale of I to VI), is not only within the Washington-Arlington boundaries but also is the site of the highest water velocity ever recorded in nature.
However, Mr. Phillips's report failed to mention the most impressive and memorable part of a trip down Little Falls -- the overwhelming volume of litter left behind by fishermen near the takeout. Fishing this spring and early summer was exceptionally good, and that drew more fishermen.
Further, because District officials were not prepared to issue fishing licenses on time this year, license requirements were waived, and the result was a casual disregard for both fishing regulations and the environment. Fishermen from Fletcher's Boathouse often row across to the more remote Virginia shoreline to drink and even defecate without making any effort to clean afterward.
Those of us who enjoy and work to protect the river and riverbanks have asked the Park Service (which administers the C&O National Historic Park and George Washington National Parkway bordering most of the Potomac) to help volunteer efforts to bring the litter situation under control. While littering violations are difficult to prove, fishing and alcohol regulations are easy to enforce.
Perhaps D.C. Mayor Williams's efforts to improve the District's Parks and Recreation Office will reduce part of this problem next year, but more information (in many languages) and better enforcement are necessary now.