What others say: Trashing the Valley has become all too common

  • Tuesday, February 23, 2016 5:21pm
  • Opinion

Some careless Mat-Su residents seem to have no problem trashing the Valley.

At least two vehicles have become stuck in the ice this winter at the Palmer Hay Flats, endangering the birds, fish and other wildlife that call the 28,000-acre state game refuge home. Elsewhere on the refuge, piles of garbage have been showing up, including large trash dumps at the end of Rabbit Slough Road. These trash dumps are similar to those that can be found in other secluded areas in the Valley, including numerous spots along the Matanuska and Knik rivers.

These shameless and brazen acts might seem like petty crime when compared to the other law enforcement problems currently facing our community, but they should not be ignored. When people choose to dump trash in the woods or drive vehicles over sensitive habitat, their victims include not just the environment but anyone who values a clean, healthy place to live — and that’s just about everyone.

Finding a place to dump unwanted items isn’t hard, nor is it particularly expensive. The borough landfill in Palmer is open 7 days a week (except holidays), and rates for household garbage start at just $2 per bag. The borough charges an additional fee for hazardous waste, but those fees are typically minimal and pale in comparison to the cost to the environment of dumping illegally.

What this issue boils down to is respect. People who respect their community don’t drive pick-up trucks across wetlands, and people who respect their friends and neighbors don’t toss old mattresses at the end of dirt roads.

The Mat-Su Valley is a jewel of Alaska, known for its scenic wild rivers, soaring mountain peaks and clear, cold lakes. But if people continue to treat the Valley as one big dumping ground, that reputation will continue to be eroded.

The best way to change this type of disrespectful behavior is through peer pressure. If you see or hear of someone dumping illegally or driving where they shouldn’t, please speak up. While you may not want to call the police on a friend or family member, a discouraging word can often go a long way toward changing someone’s wayward behavior. And for every person who decides not to trash the environment, we all benefit in the form of cleaner water and improved outdoor experiences.

We want the Mat-Su of the future to be a place that’s teeming with diverse plants and abundant wild animals — not scarred by rutted wheel tracks and desecrated by heaping piles of Valley trash.

— Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman,

Feb. 19

More in Opinion

Heidi Drygas, executive director of the 8,000-member Alaska State Employees Association, addresses a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol on Feb. 10, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Let’s stop the ‘Neglect. Panic. Repeat.’ cycle of public service delivery

The payroll section is one of several state agencies in crisis

This photo shows Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jim Cockrell. (Courtesy photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)
Strengthening Alaska through service: Join the Alaska State Troopers

The law enforcement positions within the Department of Public Safety fill a critical need within our community

A tabletop voting booth is seen next to a ballot box at the Kenai city clerk’s office on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Last call to voice your vote!

We will see you at the polls Oct. 3

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Addressing Kenai Peninsula’s education and public safety employee shortage

Many of our best and brightest educators take a hard and close look at the teacher’s retirement system in Alaska early in their careers and are stunned

Deven Mitchell, executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Providing for generations of Alaskans

As a public endowment, the wealth of the Fund is the responsibility of every resident of the state

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney greet each other outside the chamber at the U.S. Capitol on April 5, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP file photo)
Opinion: Alaska’s senators and Mitt Romney

When newly elected Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, began his term five years… Continue reading

UAA Provost Denise Runge photographed outside the Administration and Humanities Building.
Opinion: UAA offers affordable and convenient pathways that prepare students for the next step

At UAA, we provide numerous academic programs designed to meet specific workforce needs

A line of voters runs out the door of the Diamond Ridge Voting Precinct at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. Chamber Executive Director Brad Anderson said he had never seen the amount of people coming through the polling place. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
How many ways can you vote?

Multiple ballot options available to voters

scales of justice (File photo)
Opinion: The Dubious Dunleavy Deal to use public dollars for personal legal costs

In 2019, these regulation changes were ultimately abandoned without public notice

A 2022 voter information pamphlet rests on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Where to find voter pamphlets

Be educated about what you are voting on

Trustees and staff discuss management and investment of the Alaska Permanent Fund. (Courtesy Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation)
Providing Alaska-based opportunities for professional talent

Expanding our in-state presence by opening a satellite office in Anchorage has been part of the fund’s strategic plan for the past four years