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Different locale, same old God-awful problem: litter and lots of it …

My home base is now Brevard. Traded in were the urban environs of Charlotte for a pretty view of the mountains.

But Brevard (pop. 7,800) shares at least one unfortunate trait with its big city brother: an unsightly amount of trash and litter.

While a routine daily path has yet to be determined (not so many sidewalks in my neighborhood), the town has not passed the eyeball test when it comes to cleanliness. Far from it.

And even worse: outlying Transylvania County. You could call it God-awful but that would just be a good start for descriptive terms. The main highway from Brevard to points west, Rte. 64, is an abomination of roadside trash and uncollected litter. My friend Jody and I commented (in coarse, blunt terms) about the abundance of junk when we drove along the two lane asphalt.

Brevard itself seems to tilt toward environmentalism. Thus the local newspaper, the Transylvania Times, runs reader comments about the messiness of the area. Not that the writers are mean spirited but they call pea-brained litterbugs what they are: slobs.

Trash in Charlotte is bad enough, but with plenty of other attributes the Queen City doesn’t hang its hat on ultra-cleanliness.


But it’s a bit of a different deal in Brevard. The town is partially dependent on the tourist trade; hikers in the Pisgah Forest, mountain bikers who pedal hundreds of trail miles and fisher people who cast flies in the trout waters of the Davidson and French Broad Rivers (not to mention an untold number of smaller mountain streams). Brevard and Highland and Cashiers and Hendersonville all have a sizable stake in environmental cleanliness. What I see now, which in some ways makes me gag, is deplorable.

To that end, the non-appeal of numerous trash sightings raises questions: If I’m a visitor, what do I make of road sides that are clogged with junk and debris and litter? Do I grit my teeth and keep moving down the road in search of a more pristine spot? Maybe.

From my admittedly biased and jaded perspective as a pedestrian litter picker upper, there is a ton (maybe literally) of work ahead of me. With the house finally settled I can resume my daily walks, trash bags in hand. Thank goodness the city of Brevard supplied me with a very large recycling bin on wheels. The volume of space will come in handy.

So Pick Up Your Path should again begin to be published on a much more frequent basis. There’ll be lots to talk and whine about out here. And lots to pick up.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

2 Comments on Different locale, same old God-awful problem: litter and lots of it …

  1. Hi, Dave! Congrats on the move. Trash question for you. What portion of trash (in Brevard, Charlotte or other environs) do you think is attributable to: 1) debris flying out of trash trucks; 2) construction debris from similar trucks; 3) trash from run-of-the-mill litterers; 4) other sources? (I tend to see much more construction debris in my area of far South Charlotte.) I’ll hang up and listen to your answer. Rob G.

    • Rob: I suppose things do fly out of trash trucks but when you look at plastic bottles, fat food containers, etc., that’s stuff that is likely tossed aside. The construction debris I can understand but it’s still there and folks like you and me have to pick it up. Thanks for the comment … and feel free to post photos and such.

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