We took a late afternoon run through Theodore Roosevelt Island Sunday, mainly to let the kids blow off some energy, but also to check out the National Park Service’s new trash strategy along all the parks of the George Washington parkway: that is, no trash cans. It’s been almost a month since garbage receptacles were removed from 27 locations along the parkway, to include Daingerfield Island, the Iwo Jima memorial and Great Falls Park.
There was no scientific monitoring done by our crew, we just roamed around, both in the woods and at the memorial. But we saw very little trash, on the trails or the open area. Does the idea of “Carry In, Carry Out — Leave No Trace” really work?
“We’ve had a few really busy weekends,” said Brent O’Neill, the park manager for Great Falls Park, “and we’re finding we’ve had about 85 to 90 percent compliance. Which means people are following the program.” He said park rangers have been moving around the parks educating people, large signs have been posted, and there’s been some publicity on it as well.
The goal, as stated in this memo and this press release, is to get people to think about what trash they might be creating before they ever enter the park, and bring bags or other ways to take it back out with them. In addition, O’Neill said, “we had about 77 trash cans in Great Falls Park. That visual clutter is now out of the landscape.”
Have you been in a park along the parkway since April 22? Is “no trash cans” really the way to go? Comments please.