Vandals vs volunteers – the saga continues

benchCharles Helm

It has been rather a bad start to the recreation season. First there was the burning of the outhouse at Kinuseo Falls parking lot. Next there was the fire that was made right next to the dinosaur tracks on Flatbed Creek. This was closely followed by the firing of a pellet gun from inside the Lost Haven Cabin, through the large window that provides the view of the river and Bergeron Cliffs. And within the last week one of the wonderful rustic benches on the TR Trail, lovingly crafted in 2015 by volunteers Fred and Shawna Booker, is no more. It has disappeared over the edge of the cliff, and likely ended up in the Murray River, seventy-five metres below.

One has to admire this effort. First, these vandals would have had to walk over a kilometre on a trail, then it must have taken considerable strength and fortitude to lift the heavy bench up and over the edge – not for the faint of heart. And the thrill of seeing someone else’s handiwork tumble and crash its way and disappear with a great splash must have been quite immense.

Vandalism of this kind is not new, although the current state of problems is perhaps worrisome. These events occur just infrequently enough that our dedicated volunteers feel they are able to persist and rebuild. It is seldom that the lines that separate good and evil are so clearly drawn. Some try to build, and give of their time to better our community; others think that it’s cool trying to destroy their efforts. A window will be replaced, a bench will be rebuilt.

And the news is not all bad. Amazingly, in the past few weeks some anonymous human has gone down to the Mini-Falls and done a complete clean-up of this coveted party-spot. It is acts like this, plus the innumerable comments that keep pouring in about how our trails and benches enchant residents and visitors, that keep our volunteers inspired never to quit.