Thursday, April 01, 2010

Alaska is a pretty clean place. The air is almost always excellent here in south central Alaska(though Fairbanks has large amounts of particulates in winter -- though not for the reasons most people would guess) and when you head off to fish, ride, hike, or camp you will mostly likely find beautiful, clean wilderness. Sadly, there is sometimes a random piece of litter to let you know that humanity made it to this little piece of heaven before you did. It stinks, but that's life. In general, Alaska is very clean. A great deal cleaner than Chicago, and a fair amount cleaner than Wisconsin (and Wisconsin is a pretty clean place). I'm beginning to split hairs here, but suffice to say -- Alaska is just about as clean and beautiful as you would expect.

However, as the snow melts each April we are confronted with our annual, dirty task -- cleaning up the trash. All along the roads a brutal amount of trash collects, waiting for volunteers to attack it within a few weeks in preparation for summer and the visitors it brings. It's kind of nasty to glance at, but it does make a cruel bit of sense. Think about it. All winter long random pieces of little trash find their way onto the roads, only to be plowed into the snow back . Our winter has no freeze/thaw cycles -- it only all melts once, and that is after about 5-6 months of snow. So you find a plethora of junk neatly assembled on the sides of the road, all ready for picking. It's kind of like getting the majority of the city's annual litter in a 2 week window.

Everyone is now starting to get in good mood as the snow melts a little more each day. The parking lots everywhere are turning into gravel and the trash is preening itself for the light of day. Soon trucks will come around and pick up all of the gravel and we'll get that litter taken care of. It's the annual eyesore before life explodes into green and seemingly endless daylight and we are all reminded yet again of why we all live here. Just a few more weeks...

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