Champs & Chumps: Summer 2017

We often wax poetic about the millions of acres of pristine public land surrounding Bozeman, but the reality is, our trails, forests, and waterways are under threat. The menace in question? Us. We are trashing the landscape with refuse, and it’s not just the dog owners—although many are guilty. It’s time to call out the offending parties. 

Litterers. And we’re not talking about the runner who accidentally drops a candy-wrapper from her pocket—although we should take steps to avoid that outcome, as well. We’re talking about the active litterers. The unrepentant litterers. The folks who throw beer cans out of pickup windows, leave half-melted garbage in campsite fire rings, and deposit human waste in shallow graves near an alpine lake. We aren’t the fun-police—trust us. But it’s basic human decency to leave the woods as nice as you found them, and active defilement is unacceptable. Time for some accountability, folks. 

Anti-Litterers. Generally, people loathe confrontation. Or even direct communication, hence the popularity of social media in place of actual socializing. But the mess has gone too far, and peer pressure works just as well now as it did in middle school. It’s time to call people out. Not in a hostile way—rather, assume that a neglectful dog-owner forgot baggies, and offer her one. But if some jerk is about to leave a day-use area with cans and bottles scattered about, and doesn’t respond to your kind offer to help tidy up, lay into him. No two ways about it: littering’s bad behavior, and public shaming works.