Letter: Outdoor ethics at MacGregor

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Editor,

I love MacGregor Park! I have spent hours there from walks with friends to community activities and family outings. It is my favorite park in Hamilton County. I love the feel of it as a passive nature park where, despite the sound of U.S. 31 traffic, you can feel immersed in nature.

In the recent article and on my visits, I noticed that there is a practice of hanging tree ornaments on a tree in MacGregor Park. I thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss outdoor ethics, which are dear to my heart. I understand this seems like an innocent community activity, yet it can do harm on many levels. Leaving things in nature that do not belong become harmful to animals who might mistake them for food, becomes litter as it blows off the tree and it is inconsiderate of others wanting to enjoy nature immersion.

When manmade items are left as “decoration” for nature, it is essentially littering. Leave No Trace Principles in their simplest form state, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.” I challenge the community to allow nature to be enough. The frost on the tree, the dew drop, the dark-eyed junco, the plump persimmon are all nature’s decorations. We don’t need plastic and glass to adorn our trees in natural areas. All seven of the principles of Leave No Trace can be found at lnt.org.

Let’s practice this so that our nature parks stay natural. Happy trails to all! 

Sara Heiliger, Westfield

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