Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Signs of Obliviousness

Despite the amusing title, I'm absolutely serious about this one - and furious too!

Really it's two issues, though the second one grows out of the first.

Every time. Every time I am in a park - regional, provincial or national - I see people ignoring the posted signs.

The signs are posted, the area is clearly fenced off - at least from the path side - I'm slightly willing to cut some slack when it comes to people crossing from the other side. The beach continues along past the re-vegetated area with no access paths - but it's not clearly marked from that side. I've managed to do it once without realizing right away. In my defense, I think the tide was coming in pretty quickly too. However, I've also seen people just hop over the fence to go wander in that area - kids chasing the rabbits, or people not wanting to walk all the way back to the proper beach access path from the washrooms. The other day I even saw some people with bicycles on the wrong side of that fence! And if someone confronts a person doing that, they're likely to get told to F*** *** and mind their own business. I've seen that very response - and it makes me feel very uncomfortable about speaking up when I see this kind of behavior.

Inevitably I'll see dogs running freely on the beach, off leash with their owners throwing balls or sticks. Ask them about it and the response is usually "I didn't see the signs". Said signs are placed at every access path. How could you not see them? Perhaps you just didn't want to see them?

Same thing is true for the signs that say "ALL DOGS MUST BE LEASHED".
Or, you'll hear "My dog is well behaved and doesn't need to be on a leash". Which suggests that the owner doesn't think that the rules need to apply to them.

The other one - one I haven't seen in person yet, but have definitely seen evidence for is people ignoring the "NO BICYCLES" signs along the trails. It's kind of hard to disguise the tire-tracks left behind in the mud, so I know this sign is another frequently ignored one.

Those are all bad enough. Here is the one that has me finally going ahead with this rant.

I live in British Columbia. This year we're having a real problem with forest fires all across the province. There's a fire ban in place for nearly all of the province. All the parks have clearly posted signs to say "NO FIRES" and also "NO SMOKING"  at the entries to each trail and also posted along the trails. I was out two days ago enjoying a wonderful hike up in the mountains two days ago - except that as I came along the route back, I was stuck behind a group who insisted on smoking - despite the signs. There were four of them, and only two of us, so I didn't feel comfortable about speaking up. Perhaps I should have anyway. I could see the cigarettes in their hands, and most definitely smell the smoke!

They're not the only ones though. Despite clear announcements of the fire ban, people are still lighting campfires! I just can't fathom the attitude.

Fire Restrictions Ignored By Campers
Ignored Fire Ban and Evac
Some Campers On The B.C. Coast Ignoring Open Fire Ban Despite Interior Wildfires
Campfire Ban Ignored
B.C. officials to investigate after firefighters reportedly breach campfire ban

And those are just a selection of articles on the topic. I just can't understand people sometimes. We're seeing the devastation caused by fires all around the province - not to mention more of them in the USA. It's bad enough when those fires are caused by lightning. There's not a lot we can do about that. But to risk causing more fires through human stupidity?

I sincerely hope that nobody reading this blog condones behavior like this, but I won't apologize for my attitude towards it all.

I am so sick and tired of the obliviousness to clearly posted signs and rules, either because people don't think they should apply to them, or they think they can get away with breaking the rules - sadly this is probably true all too often. I'm tired of it. Tired of going to the beach and seeing the remains of fires. Tired of hearing people in campgrounds stamping around in the brush to find wood to burn - when the rules clearly say it's not allowed. Tired of seeing dogs chasing birds in areas where dogs aren't allowed off leash. Tired of seeing unauthorized trails ground into the parks by people who figure they can just go anywhere they please. I'm tired of it all! And I don't know what can be done about it. 

Or, am I just an old-fashioned kill-joy of a stick in the mud who wants to take away peoples fun when I believe that these rules should be followed? Do we live in a society where rules don't mean anything anymore? Should I simply get used to seeing this kind of behavior and start closing my eyes towards it?  Sometimes I wonder.

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