Our Natural Resources Are A Privilege! Treat Them That Way!

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Justin Pickett

“This is what happens when we don’t take care of the things we are given.”

Just yesterday I decided to spend the first few hours of the morning fishing one of my favorite local spots. The weather was perfect and the river levels were just right. I indeed had a great morning, landing several nice fish. I even had the chance to sight fish to a behemoth of a shoal bass, but after many casts and patterns it was evident that he either had lockjaw, or he’s just an asshole. Nonetheless, though, it was a great day.

Satisfied with my morning, and with the temps rising, I decided to string it up and head back to the truck. As I got closer to the bridge, I noticed two gentlemen walking out from the woods, out onto the rocks. I thought it was a little odd of fishermen to show up to fish during the hottest part of the day, but whatever. Once I closed a little more distance between us I realized that they were DNR officers, and then I suddenly got the feeling that they were likely waiting for me.

Once I was in ear-shot I gave a friendly “hello”, and they greeted me back and asked if they could check my fishing license. I quickly made it over and gave them my ID and license as they asked how the fishing had been. Then they hit me with the real reason why they were there waiting for me…

“Sir did you realize that you are trespassing on private property?”

Now, I know that the property that I was fishing is indeed private, however there has been an understanding amongst the owner and those that fish and kayak through that as long as we respect his land, then he will allow us to use the area around the river for our amusement. I explained the reasoning behind my presence to the officers, and they politely explained to me that (recently I guess) the owner had forbidden anyone without his direct permission from fishing or recreating on his property.

It seems that the few have ruined it for the many once again. The DNR officers eluded to the fact that there have been several instances where people have left trash and beer bottles all over the shoals, and even an occasion where the land owner’s wife was cursed and screamed at while attempting to educate some of these assholes about the privilege that they were abusing. So now what was once a great place to fish and enjoy, that was made available because of a gracious landowner, is now shut down and off limits to everyone because we as people can’t follow simple instructions and have some common decency.

What a shame. 

I was glad to see those DNR officers out there though. It was the first time I’ve had my license checked in the state of GA in the thirty-one years I’ve been on this earth. I wish I saw more of them actually. I believe an increased DNR presence would help keep things like this from happening more often.

As we parted ways, I thanked them for the new info. I’d rather find out from them than from the business end of the land owner’s shotgun. They were super nice fellas and just gave me the warning to not return without permission of the land owner, which I will certainly oblige.

This is what happens when we don’t take care of the things we are given. Whether private property, or public. We need to treat the opportunities to enjoy all of our natural resources as privileges because that’s what they are. If we abuse our resources, they will eventually be shut down, whether by a land owner, or Mother Nature herself. Do your part in taking care of our streams and rivers, and the land around it before it’s too late!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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11 thoughts on “Our Natural Resources Are A Privilege! Treat Them That Way!

  1. No matter where you go, there is always evidence of some jerk and his trash. Remember the old saying, “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures!”

  2. As George Griffiths (one of the founders of TU) said: “Never let it be said, and said to your shame that all was beauty her, before you came”!

  3. What a shame. I often clean up trash that I find if I can. At least you know you can go ask the people nicely for permission, maybe offer to clean up as you walk the banks once in a while? 🙂

    • We always ended up picking up trash when fished there as well. I will definitely be in touch with this land owner this spring. That place is too awesome to have to give it up without at least trying to get permission.

  4. I started a couple years ago carrying a small plastic bag with me to pick up what I find. I fish the Lehigh River in Pa. I love that place. It’s made me aware of my own actions when I was younger, and tossed stuff. I regret it as I got older, and try to make up for my own immaturity when I was just a young Dick.

    I can assure you of this however, It’s the nymph guys that do it the most, not the dry fly guys.

    I have to say this too. Guys see me do this, some ask what I have in the bag. When I tell them I get the impression from some it makes them think twice about it. I hope so. I know I’ve changed. Sorry.

  5. That’s sad; I can really empathize with this piece. There is a spot in MN where a farmer has provided access to anglers for decades. This year one angler refused to move his vehicle from where it was parked so that the farmed could get his equipment through, because the angler claimed it was “his right to be there.” Now nobody is allowed to fish there… =(

  6. That’s one of the things that is extremely irritating, to be fishing a pristine section of water — out in the high country, and land a memorable fish only to look down and see a used beer or soda can.

    If you packed it in, then take it out when you leave. Or don’t bother using the resource to begin with. There’s not a lot of wild and wonderful places to get away, wet a line and recharge from the everyday strain and stresses of life in the city in the lower 48. We need to do a much better job of taking care of what we have, better educate those that don’t understand what we stand to lose if we don’t.

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