As I approach the picnic area I begin to look around for signs of how these people have spent their time. There are bits of brightly colored candy wrappers that indicate children. What appear to be corn husks lie in the grass like bits of parchment. The grill is full of ashes and unburned charcoal squares. The grill has a faint smell of meat. Under the table is a plastic fork. Next to the tree is a butterfly looking twist top that I believe came from a sugary drink. Strewn about and forgotten are empty soda cans and beer cans. Occasionally there is some forgotten fishing line. All of this is evidence of time well spent with the family. It would have been even better spent had the adults taken the opportunity to teach the children stewardship by cleaning their picnic space better before leaving. The concept of ‘Leave no Trace’ has been completely lost on many of these users.
I drive away from the scene with a bucket of recycling and a garbage can brimming with ashes and trash. The picnic area is ready for the next onslaught of summer afternoon revelers.