Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

The trash haul from the Cobble Knoll area of Lake Kaweah during a previous Public Lands Day event. An ironing board?


Sarah Elliott


After 20 years of Neighbor Profile features, now more appropriately called “Someone You Should Know,” it is evident that the most-oft cited "Pet Peeve" is litter. 

Everybody despises it, but it continues to accumulate on the local roadways, at the river, and in and around Lake Kaweah.

What is the best way to get rid of trash? I’ve got the answer: Educate the children.

Several years ago while on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, we had a discussion with a resident about the inordinate amount of trash noticeable along the roads. We were informed that it was a cultural issue that was a result of generations with no trash service. Even though there now are garbage disposal services, adults were having a hard time changing their ways. So activists went to the schools. Lo and behold, it was the children who began urging their parents and other family members to properly dispose of their garbage and other unwanted items. And soon these children will be the adults who will know what to do, and what not to do, with garbage.

My kids participated in Public Lands Day at Lake Kaweah every year since its inception until they left for college. I can attest that a child picking up trash — actually witnessing the ridiculousness of what folks will leave behind for others to pick up —  ensures that they will never, ever litter or let anyone around them leave behind trash.

When doing my kids’ laundry through the years, I would find the tiniest corners of wrappers in their pockets, obviously because they would not allow themselves to leave behind even the smallest pieces of trash.

This is why I strongly recommend that parents roust their children out of bed Saturday morning (September 27) and head out to Lake Kaweah to take on the rewarding job of picking up some of the tons of trash that gets left behind each year by lake users and others. It’s all about the education, and there are donuts too.