Publisher's Note: Spring means cleaning up
After one of the longest winters I can remember people have taken to the outdoors voraciously. It seems everyone is out doing something, from walking to riding on their bikes to playing in the parks.
Itís warm weather like this that really highlights how important our parks are. Hippo co-owner Dan Szczesny was at Mt. Monadnock this last weekend and found the trails filled with hikers ó so much so that people were being turned away.
Parks are incredibly important to how we enjoy the warmer weather in southern New Hampshire. They fulfill some basic need we have to be outdoors and in the woods.
We canít take them for granted.
Along his hike up White Dot trail at Mt. Monadnock, Szczesny saw people throwing their trash into the woods. It comes as no surprise that at several parks around Manchester, Nashua and Concord I too have found empty soda bottles, fast food wrappers and other garbage. Several times Iíve confronted people trashing our parks, though this is probably not a good idea. A better idea is to pick up after them. Shame is a powerful motivator.
While we should expect our local towns to keep our parks in good working order, we canít cede all responsibility to the government. We each have a responsibility to, first and foremost, not trash the parks ourselves and to leave them better than we found them. Bring a few pairs of gloves and a trash bag the next time you visit the parks and get your kids into the act.
There are several young professional organizations throughout southern New Hampshire (some attached to Chambers of Commerce) that meet monthly to share their experiences and have a drink. Perhaps some of these groups could put aside the martinis one month and clean a park. That would really help promote fellowship and improve their quality of life.
Unfortunately, trash doesnít only appear in parks. This time of year large amounts of it are exposed by the melted snow. Then thereís the graffiti.
While city governments of Manchester, Nashua and Concord do a pretty good job of staying on top of it, itís spreading to private property where cities usually donít clean. Though it would be nice if government were our nanny, it isnít and graffiti should be painted over or cleaned immediately to send a message that we care and to discourage future vandalism. Some of you might notice that our newspaper boxes (and those of other publications) are frequent targets. Our distribution team works to keep the boxes clean, and we should.
I can sympathize with teens who feel marginalized and alienated and then lash out by vandalizing things. As a teen you can feel ó and are ó so far removed from the rest of us. Programs that pull these kids off the street into constructive releases are part of the solution. Itís easy to find programs for kids under 10, but as kids turn to teens after-school programs for them dry up. (For some suggestions for these pre-work, post-playground-aged kids, see a story addressing this issue on page 60.)