Trash is embarrassing

Published 8:18 pm Wednesday, March 31, 2010

There are reports archaeologists have reviewed evidence proving people lived in the Great Dismal Swamp more than 13,000 years ago.

And, regardless of the living conditions more than 130 centuries ago, it is hard to imagine they would have left behind the items along the shorelines and under the water that were recently found.

Let’s just say the items found were less historic than trashy.

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During a clean-up of the swamp, volunteers recovered four toilets, dozens of tires, batteries, televisions and more than one ton of trash from the historic swamp.

The Great Dismal Swamp, covering more than 112,000 acres of forest and wetlands, is no less a geographic wonder than the pristine shoreline many of us flock to for vacation each summer.

The Great Dismal Swamp, which is home to the majestic 3,100 acre Lake Drummond, the largest natural lake in Virginia, is no less a tourist attraction than many points throughout the East Coast, much less Hampton Roads.

And it is this treasure, this historic gem to our area that should never have four toilets, dozens of tires, batteries, television and random garbage dumped in it. It is far too valuable a resource, both environmentally and economically, for us to not treat it accordingly.

The local chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, along with a number of city staff and refuge employees, cleaned up a dumpsite near the Jericho Lane entrance in mid-March.

As a result of what they found at this dumpsite, refuge managers are now planning to install an electronic gate to cut after-hours access to this area.

Their volunteer spirit and their attention to this treasure should be highly commended and emulated as often as possible.

The trash pulled from the Great Dismal Swamp is both embarrassing to realize that the trash was even there, and inspirational that a few volunteers can make such a difference.