In the Wild with Greg Wagner


Word from Jeff Blaser, Private Waters Biologist in our Game and Parks Fisheries Division, that a private landowner between Omaha and Lincoln is contemplating pulling out his property in the fishing portion of the Open Fields and Waters program because of continual, excessive amounts of trash left by litter bug violators!

Some of the trash picked up by Jeff Blaser. Photo courtesy of Daryl Bauer.

Beware, I’m stepping up on my soapbox now! C’mon litter bug violators (you know who you are), do you know what the heck you’ve done? We need all of the access we can get to quality private lands for fishing and hunting and you’re ruining it for all of us! Plus, we now have a landowner who is quite upset and thinking about restricting access to his property. My gosh, the ramifications of  these litter bugs are huge, aren’t they! Are you one of ’em? Come clean. Ever tossed anything out – cigarette butts, empty beer bottle, pop can, plastic water bottle, candy wrapper, potato chip bag? The next time you think about merely throwing something out, think of the consequence of littering – an upset private landowner seriously considering taking his property out of a public access program! The actions of outdoor enthusiasts speak volumes!

See you out there, leaving only footprints and any area in the great outdoors of Nebraska BETTER than you found it!

1 Comment so far
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Mr. Wags,

Here’s MY soapbox response!

First, let’s discuss the 1% of Sportsmen that are responsible for the loss of private AND public access for the rest of us. I call them S.L.O.B.’s. They are Stupid, Lazy, Obscene (ie, repulsive!) Bastadges! It’s become “the norm” for the property owners/managers to PUNISH the 99%! Does anyone think that the S.L.O.B.’s give a crap? Hmmmmm?

“Convenient” access to many of our Interstate Lakes in Central NE has been lost due to these S.L.O.B.’s. Many WMA’s have seen the same. Of course, that probably will NOT stop the littering problem. On a closed private property, I doubt the trespassers will pick up any trash, either. On limited access Public properties, the S.L.O.B.’s aren’t likely to “party by the gate”… and how many of the 99% are going to lug back through the weeds halfway around the property a 55 gal bag of trash?

Most (if not all) of these access losses were decisions made BEFORE the 99% were made aware of these “reactive” decisions! While it is “easier” to just close/limit access, which, in MY opinion, doesn’t solve ANYTHING! There ARE other options available. Of course, that would require a greater effort to DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM than the “knee-jerk” reaction we are currently dealing with.

Of course, I mean NO DISRESPECT to the Private Property Owner that provides Public Access! And I DO have some suggestions I would hope SOMEONE would seriously consider!

I blame the loss of access to our lack of SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES to those among us that litter. Because the odds of “getting caught” are so slim, the deterrent MUST BE as OBSCENE as these S.L.O.B.’s are! I believe the punishment in Japan is FIVE YEARS! We’re broke. We don’t need to be “jailing” anybody for littering. BUT a fine of (some will call excessive, I believe 99% of Sportsmen would agree with me!) $1,000 would provide that degree of “deterrent”! Of course, adding a “community service” bailout of the fine should be included. It should require TRASH PICK-UP and a “weight” of the trash should be required, NOT JUST TIME/$$! Walking a ditch for X hours @ $X.00 against a fine just isn’t “excessive” enough!

Sorry, I’m aware that I’m on my second “bar” of “Soap”…

“We don’t have enough LEO’s … yada yada yada…

EVERY Nebraskan has a RESPONSIBILITY to OUR resources. It’s time we remind them that their “eyes” are needed! Seems we ALL have a “camera” phone… The “Court” seems to get THEIR COSTS recovered on fines. Why not add $100 for “finders fees”!

Here’s a “proactive” approach (not the “pimple” stuff.. ha) that I believe “we” would be willing to provide. When information is received that a loss of public access to a privately owned property is being considered, let’s provide the Property Owner with some sympathetic support. Offer them a “public clean-up” of their property! Same for OUR NGPC managed properties!

There are individuals, groups, clubs etc in EVERY CORNER OF OUR GREAT STATE and if the choice is to CLOSE ACCESS or give the 99% an opportunity to provide a CIVIC DUTY, I expect that because “we are being asked” a fair turnout could be expected!

I’ll go out on a limb, here, Mr. Wags… and bet that the 99% are NOT happy with the current reactions to the S.L.O.B.’s among us.

Give us an opportunity to show “your example” that WE DO respect his property. Let me drive around Key West, Bufflehead, Coot Shallows like we used to. Hekk, I have a pickup that will hold LOTS OF TRASH that I wouldn’t have dragged back to a closed gate…

K. Harold Fankhauser
Kearney, NE

Comment by Harold F.

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