Friday, December 9, 2022


What can we do about vandalized public property?


Dear RV Shrink:
rvshrinkOne of the comments someone made under last week’s column caught my attention.

We have not spent much time in campgrounds during the past 30 years. Now that we have retired, that has all changed. One thing we notice constantly is the disrespect to public property. We do not remember so much blatant graffiti, vandalism, defacing and littering. It is sad to think that so many people find pleasure in degrading infrastructure for no apparent reason. —Bewildered in Butte

Dear Bewildered:
Graffiti is nothing new, but I agree we have moved way beyond the obscene bathroom stall scratch art stage. More parks now use reflective metal in bathrooms because they cannot afford to continually replace mirrors. Try finding your face with a razor while staring into a poorly reflective, graffiti scratched metal plate.

We all suffer because of the actions of a minority of people I can only describe as “puppy minded.” They must have the same mental capacity of a puppy that insists on chewing shoes.

As a long-distance hiker I know that this tendency is not exclusive to the front country. I am amazed at how many people spend the time and energy to get into remote country and have so little respect for not only trail and signage work, but the landscape itself. You will find trailhead kiosk displays scratched beyond recognition, gates crushed, signage broken and trash scattered to the wind.

We can only combat this behavior by being good stewards ourselves and overwhelming this deviate behavior with spontaneous voluntary service. Picking up trash is our main contribution. Most of the abuse you encounter is already beyond repair.

A sad state of affairs, but I assure you there are hundreds of good stewards for every poor one. You just never see the evidence of them because they practice LNT (Leave No Trace).

Depending on the campground host, or the management philosophy, you can find a campsite pristine or trashed. But in many cases a campsite needs some tender loving care after the last tenants have vacated.

When you leave a site, consider how you would like to find it on arrival. —Keep Smilin’, RV Shrink


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Jerry X Shea
6 years ago

I just can’t stand those Senior Citizens that spray paint our National Parks and throw litter everywhere – Ha, ya sure.
Yes, it is sad that young folks feel the need to deface our public lands.

6 years ago
Reply to  Jerry X Shea

Don’t automatically blame the “young folks”. We spent 6 months in a GA state park one year. We were usually the only site occupied in our loop. That was when we were continually surprised at the condition of the bathhouse after many of the weekend campers/RVers. Most of whom were well over 50yo. It was the one who pooped in the men’s shower that got us. And we reported it to the park rangers as soon as my husband discovered it.

6 years ago

As volunteer campground hosts, we find many people believe that since they paid for the site, they can leave their trash and someone else will clean up their mess. What they fail to understand is that we are volunteers and our purpose is to give them an enjoyable experience, not clean up their messes. If the trend continues, there will be fewer campgrounds because of the cost to maintain them.