Who craps in their own backyard?

Dianne St. Jean

Summertime in Valemount. No wonder people come here in droves from all over the world – we have so many things that cannot simply be invented.

We are surrounded by lush forests and hedged in by majestic mountains. Our waterways gush and flow as gifts from the mountaintops and carry within them the flow of life itself – determined salmon battling upward to spawn; deer, wolf and bear satisfying their thirst and in some cases, their hunger, as they snatch salmon passing by on their journey.

Then there are the back trails, some laden with rock and wild flowers, carrying our steps upward toward sharp switchback trails that bring the body and spirit higher and higher as we climb; other trails simply leading us along a path of peacefulness, ebbing and flowing on level ground.

Our dogs love these walks, dipping in and out between footpath and bush. If we are tracing the gentle curve of a creek as we stroll, the sound of the stirring waters settles our soul. So calming and inspirational is this experience that some wise people have made a small fortune by recording the sound and selling it to rushed and pressed city people who play it in their sound systems back home in their needful attempt to attain some sense of calm. And yet, we have it here – free and for the taking.

As tourists flock in, most pursue the more popular and designated trails for walking, biking, or hiking. But there are others who desire to explore the perimeters and peer into the quieter trails. 

Imagine coming from a place filled with streets strewn with trash and concrete for mountains and ending up here. Imagine coming from a city of high pace and discovering in your walk around Valemount a more secluded trail that lures you in to follow it.

Beauty, peace, inspiration. Then, your eye spots something on the path. You temporarily get snapped out of the serendipitous moment of your nature walk. Oh well, I guess even the most beautiful of places are unfortunately dotted once in a while by undesirable deposits left by a pet dog on the trail. Wow, by the size of that dump, it must be a pretty big dog.

Though not pleasant, you can quickly dismiss the image from your thoughts because your mind tells you it’s a natural occurrence.

But wait, how smart can dogs from Valemount be? Looks like they’ve acquired a human skill, since there’s soiled toilet paper next to the pile.

Snap. There goes the image and sentiment of pleasure you’ve just been experiencing. The ugly sight has, in an instant, wiped out the beauty of the moment.

This is not fantasy. This has happened not once, but many times, especially along the banks of Swift Creek as you follow it upstream behind the Golden Years Seniors Lodge.

Wandering tourists and village residents alike have encountered this, and it makes you think… who on earth craps in their own backyard?

People who take for granted what we have, who have little or no conscience in disrupting the beauty of our surroundings, and absolutely no regard for others.

We are drilled to carry bags with us on walks with our dogs to pick up any deposits they leave behind in consideration of the environment and others, and yet some people, supposedly more intelligent than dogs, do this.