Most people love Colorado for its natural beauty, like mountains, the water, and the fresh air.
That's why Kaile Wilson went to Cherry Creek State Park last week with her dog Alvin. She didn't expect to leave thinking she's "never been so ashamed to be a Coloradan."
Wilson arrived to find trash all over the park. A dirty diaper, a tampon applicator, and plastic bags and bottles were scattered in the sand. Toys and food trash were left in common picnic areas. The dumpster overflowed with garbage, while more trash was left next to it.
She wrote to Next:
I've never been so ashamed to be a Coloradan as I am this morning.
Last night while exploring Cherry Creek State Park with my dog Alvin we walked through the Swim Beach and Smoky Hill Picnic Area and I found literally the trashiest place in Aurora, giving the City Dump a run for its money. Trash everywhere, plastic bottles, coolers, cans, cheap trashed plastic inflatable toys from Wal-Mart.
I woke up at 5 this morning to bring my fully charged phone and spent an hour cleaning up and taking pictures. I only put a minuscule fraction of a dent in the disgusting filth before having to go to work.
Trash left around Cherry Creek State Park
Dirty diapers, tampons, enough plastic to last hundreds of years and kill wildlife, clothes, excrement from both dogs and children... it's not just offensive to anyone who loves the outdoors in our state, it's a downright public health hazard.
This is a freaking state park. It's supposed to be a refuge for wildlife and natural beauty in our increasingly congested and sprawling city. If lazy disgusting people are going to treat it like a back alley on East Colfax they don't deserve it.
I've never been this appalled even compared to the graffiti and vandalism at Hanging Lake. A lot of people love this space and use it respectfully, myself included. But others are ruining it for everyone. Colorado Parks and Wildlife should CLOSE the park for the summer until it's cleaned up and close it down again if people continue to treat it like a trash bin.
Kaile went back to the park Tuesday, when we met her. She cleaned up even more on this day.
She assumes many people will see her pictures and say, "It's Waste Management's problem." To that, Kaile says, that's not how nature works. You don't pass off the problem. If the trash can is full, you abide by the "pack in, pack out" rule, which tells you that what you bring into a natural space, you take back out with you.
Watch our interview with Kaile above.
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