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Old 01-22-2019, 08:00 AM
 
1 posts, read 496 times
Reputation: 15

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Many of the parks in this county are badly neglected. There is trash everywhere, fallen trees, and lots of highly invasive non-native plant species that have displaced the native plants.


Iíve voiced my concerns to the county. Iíve gotten no response from them, no progress is being made. The officials around here donít get anything done and arenít doing their job! Contractors who do the landscaping do the bare minimum.


I collect all the trash, fallen branches and twigs, and trim back some of the invasive non-native plant species in order to keep many of these smaller local parks at least somewhat presentable.


This one time I got confronted by an old man who saw me doing this. He was kind of snippy with me and told me I was in BIG BIG trouble, if the cops were to show up, I would be arrested and taken away immediately. I told the old man I was trying help to clean up the local parks that the county donít seem to care about. Old man told me it doesnít matter, I canít touch anything at the park, I can make up whatever I want, cops donít care, Iíll be arrested.

I spend a few more minutes finishing up what I started. As I was leaving the old man continued to stare at me.


Keep in mind Iím not doing this at well regulated/well maintained parks like Burke Lake Park. Iím cleaning up the small local residential parks that the county are apathetic about and residents around here seem to have the same attitude.

Iíve seen:

1.Homeless folks set up tents

2.Folks dumping personal items into public park dumpsters (even though you got stickers saying its illegal)

3.High School kids staying at parks late at night so they can smoke weed, consume alcohol, fool around

4.People litter, not pick up after their dogs, and dump their personal yard waste at these parks

5.People try to hunt for treasure by bringing their metal detectors

6.Kids swimming in the streams to catch minnows, frogs, toads, etc and take them home

7.People forage/collect berries,leaves, branches

With so many of these other violations happening with no punishments enforced, officials not doing their job and neglecting these parks.

Is the county/police really going to hassle someone acting on good intentions and trying to help sustain, protect and clean up these parks???
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Roanoke, VA
1,760 posts, read 3,247,997 times
Reputation: 1036
Why don't you contact your local police department and ask the question? Perhaps the agency that manages these parks has a volunteer program that you can join and have a somewhat "official" status when you are doing this. The man who confronted you sounds like a curmudgeon.
Good luck.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:19 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,775 posts, read 10,683,449 times
Reputation: 2503
Quote:
Originally Posted by ffxdwu View Post
This one time I got confronted by an old man who saw me doing this. He was kind of snippy with me and told me I was in BIG BIG trouble, if the cops were to show up, I would be arrested and taken away immediately. I told the old man I was trying help to clean up the local parks that the county donít seem to care about. Old man told me it doesnít matter, I canít touch anything at the park, I can make up whatever I want, cops donít care, Iíll be arrested.

I am quite sure the man was incorrect. I have seen (ordinary, non-govt) people picking up litter in parks and on sidewalks in Alexandria, and I am sure FFX would be fine with it (this past weekend Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail did a trail clean up on the trail, on NPS property)

That said, I would be wary of pulling invasive species except as part of an organized group - I would want to be certain it is invasive species being pulled - plus there are certainly some non-native species that the parks authority likely does not want pulled. Though of course even if you did something like that and they didn't want it, I would have a hard time thinking there would be an immediate arrest or something like that. Frankly sounds like the dude may have some issues.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:23 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,775 posts, read 10,683,449 times
Reputation: 2503
https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/volunteer

Tree Stewards | Tree Care Community Volunteers
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, Fairfax County
4,849 posts, read 2,885,027 times
Reputation: 5903
ffxdwu, 1. I think the old man was just BS and trying to scare you, either for personal reasons like trying to feel important or out of genuine concern. 2. You should contact the park service or look for volunteer groups to make sure what you are doing is legal. You may be right on 99% of what you are doing but maybe that 1% could get you into trouble. 3. You are correct in that parks are not a high priority. One thing interesting I read within the last year is that there was a family that illegally encroached/developed on park land. A swap of land they owned for the park land was worked out as the solution. They do take these matters seriously when it becomes as legal matter.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Savannah, GA
650 posts, read 407,112 times
Reputation: 517
There are some organized clean up efforts around the area. Took part in the waterfront cleanup in Alexandria a few years ago. Just a bunch of folks picking up trash and having a good time outside. That one was posted on the local events calendar, so I would look into those options and maybe even existing meetup groups. May even be able to start your own and do clean ups here and there. Just an idea. May be worth checking with local businesses to advertise cleanups or have them contribute to the basic supplies like gloves and trashbags or maybe offer a small discount on the day of, for those doing the clean up (e.g., a bit off food, etc.). This will drive some traffic to the businesses too potentially. Could be a win win.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:56 PM
 
946 posts, read 665,751 times
Reputation: 955
I’ve seen numerous organized clean up efforts at a Fairfax County Parks. There are frequent sign up opportunities.

No one has a problem with people picking up litter.
Cutting nonnative plants could be a problem though. Just cutting these rarely helps. Generally they need special treatment either to be poisoned or dig up. Cutting them would mean they are missed during a proper clean up process. Cutting them at the wrong time may actual disperse the seeds even more, causing a bigger headache.

Just a thought.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:35 PM
 
1,691 posts, read 560,150 times
Reputation: 2652
Inquire at the park system and Law enforcement.

Now is a good time to get a plan together or to be part of one.

See about some inexpensive reflective yellow vests. Winter can be a good time to work. You probably don't want to cut till it warms up but you can take care of other prep/clean up. You can get some people who want to get outdoors. And maybe some people out of work and looking for something to do like community work. Good exercise too.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:06 AM
 
1,196 posts, read 1,864,038 times
Reputation: 686
All these great suggestions and not even a second post from the OP. Sometimes, it seems like folks want to complain, they don't want a solution.
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