by Leif Jenkinson
December 16, 2003
Last year, vandals hiked a mile into the Connell Lake trail to hold a beer party. They wantonly cut down trees, made a mess, and destroyed (and burned) the two benches an Eagle Scout had set up.
Within the last few days, another beer party took place, only they didn't bother to hike anywhere. They used the new parking lot (just paved) for the Ward Creek Trails, the parking lot just before the Last Chance Campground on the new Revilla Road. Judging by the piles of nails and screws, quite a stack of pallets were burned, damaging the new blacktop. Beer bottles were strewn on the banks of the trail, along with other garbage. Nails & screws contributed to flat tires. (Congratulations, you pathetic idiots - I can think of worse things to call you, but SITNEWS won't print them).
The Connell Lake Trail collapsed soon after I came to Ketchikan in the mid-70s. The recently rebuilt trail (about 1995?) is better and is being extended. It constitutes one of the finest easily accessible walks on our road system. It is also a sterling example of the cooperation of the Forest Service and the Trails Coalition.
The new Ward Creek Trails are a heck of a community asset - something that residents of our Borough use almost every single day of the year, something that benefits more than just the seasonal tourists. Again, they are another sterling example of what can be accomplished when local and national governments cooperate.
Some parents actual attempt to make their children good citizen. Between the volunteer parents of the Scouts and the sports teams, activities like First City Players, Ketchikan Theatre Ballet, KRBD, and the Monthly Grind (to name a few), many of our children at least have a chance of developing pride, a sense of civic and personal responsibility, and manners.
It is discouraging to see our public assets wasted. It isn't just our tax dollars down the tubes, it is the example that contributes to the moral and civic decay of this country.
I would personally like to thank and apologize to those parents and scouts that contributed to the sorely missed benches. I'd like to express my dismay and apologies to the US Forest Service personnel in charge of trails. And I'd like to see the community do more than apologize - I'd like to see us do something about the problem, something constructive. I also hope that trail use won't be restricted by the acts of the few.
I've made it my business to let the Forest Service know about downed trees and rockslides - having discovered that most users of the trails aren't doing that. It is time we all let the proper authorities know when we see vandals in action too. A tip to Crimestoppers wouldn't be misplaced, either.
Leif (Looseleif) Jenkinson
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