All myths to the contrary, clothes dryers don’t eat socks; Tubbs Hill does.
An unofficial post-Fourth-of-July survey of litter on the 120-acre natural area revealed 13 unaccompanied socks, a muddy pair of shorts, a table top, a drained jar of strained baby food and three dirty diapers - along just 100 yards of shoreline.
“I even noticed the socks; they were everywhere,” said Teri Schmehl, a Kootenai County resident who was sitting with her children on a beach along the hill’s southeast point. “It’s a shame that people do this.”
After a crowded holiday weekend that ended eight days ago, the rocky shores and gravelly beaches on the west side of the hill still are sprinkled - and in some places, doused - with garbage. The water’s edge was home to dozens of crushed domestic beer cans, 2-liter soda bottles, candy wrappers, Cheetos bags, fast-food cups, empty cigarette packs and countless spent bottle rockets.
“We were up here the other day, and kids were still setting off fireworks,” said Bob Craft, who spent Tuesday fishing off another point with his sons.
The mess, which is not as visible along the 1.1-mile south trail, is nothing new, said Doug Eastwood, Coeur d’Alene’s parks and recreation director. It looks like this every summer.
And every summer, it eventually gets cleaned up.
“When you have an unusually high number of people in a confined area like you do on the Fourth, it just happens,” Eastwood said.
In their wake come Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups, Kiwanis members, senior citizens and other good Samaritans who dig through bushes and under rocks to clean up the hill.
“I’ve seen lots of people over the years walking around carrying bags and picking up stuff,” said Art Manley, a longtime member of the Tubbs Hill Committee. “It stays pretty clean.
“In fact, I just walked around the north trail and picked up only one potato-chip bag,” he added. He hadn’t seen the littered shoreline.
Craft, vacationing in Coeur d’Alene from the state’s capital, said Tubbs Hill seemed quite clean.
“We noticed some of the fireworks,” he said. But “some of the areas around Boise are far worse than this.”
Thanks goes to people like 5-year-old Johnny Schmehl.
When his mother handed the skinny shorts-clad youngster a candy bar Tuesday, she reminded him that his family doesn’t litter. Johnny Schmehl shook his head, hooked the side pocket of his shorts with his thumb, and opened it for her to see.
“I know,” he said in apparent exasperation. “I put all my thingies in here.” While maintenance of the park is Eastwood’s responsibility, he expects to hear from volunteers before a scheduled fall cleanup.
“There’s a tremendous amount of pride among people for Tubbs Hill,” he said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
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