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Time for some spring cleaning

We’ll go out on a limb and declare that spring is finally here.

True, the temperature could dip and we could see a snow flurry, but the season has shifted, the snow cover is (long) gone at lower elevations and the melt-off in the high country is alarmingly rapid with a remaining snow pack that causes some in the know to lose sleep.

While the worrisome lack of a healthy snow pack at higher elevations prompts thoughts of drought and raises the possibility of water restrictions if the situation doesn’t improve, the lack of snow down low brings one thing to mind, and sight.

Trash.

Once the snow goes, the garbage is visible. There is plenty of it, deposited on roadsides by careless twits too lazy to take their trash home, (preferring instead to throw it from car windows), blown from the back of trucks with uncovered loads, scattered by pets and other animals from unprotected containers and sacks.

Many individuals and organizations in Pagosa Country take responsibility for sections of road and highway, collecting trash and clutter. This time of year, you see them out and about, performing this valuable task. There are also numerous individuals who, unheralded, do the same, carrying a trash sack with them on walks and collecting unsightly debris.

Residents of the town of Pagosa Springs will have their annual opportunity to do some serious clean-up work during Town Clean Up Week, scheduled May 14-18. An article in this week’s SUN provides specifics regarding the kind of trash and goods that will be picked up, the location of Dumpsters, and the curbside pick-up schedule.

This year, the town is also ready to haul away junk cars from residential properties — a boon to property owners whose vehicles qualify.

Residents of town are wise to take advantage of the program; failure to do so, with junk and litter left on properties, could result in nuisance notices from the police department.

Any and all efforts will make the town more attractive as the peak tourist season nears. The tidier and brighter the place is, the better impression it leaves on our visitors.

The same can be said for the remainder of the county. While many residents do the above-mentioned volunteer work to clean trash from areas adjacent to roadways, more effort is needed.

Town and county government have a part to play. While nuisance citations can be issued to town residents who fail to remove trash, junk cars and litter from properties, there are areas within town boundaries that still provide an ugly reminder that some citizens do not care what Pagosans and tourists see as they drive through the community. Rusting trailers, junk, useless equipment litter the landscape next to several sections of highway.

The same holds true in the county. There are areas at the gateways to the community that are disgraceful. Anyone who uses the term “pristine” to describe this part of the world (and many do) would be wise to remember these places, and to pressure public officials to be consistently vigilant. Violators of nuisance ordinances should be rigorously pursued and a constant demand that junk and litter be removed from properties should be pressed.

People come to Pagosa Country to enjoy the environment — a clean and beautiful environment. Arguments concerning individual rights don’t carry weight when it comes to unsightly junk and litter in public view. These things have a negative effect on everyone, and no individual has the right to damage the community in a careless, selfish fashion. Making this place as beautiful as we can, eliminating trash and junk whenever and wherever possible, ultimately benefits us all.

Karl Isberg

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