Park signs need to be attractive and easy to read

— Photo by Carol Waterman

Garbage is left at an Albany County park next to a container marked on top “dog waste only.”

To the Editor:

On Aug. 24, The Altamont Enterprise published my letter thanking Peter Barber and other Guilderland officials for making town of Guilderland parks and open spaces smoke-free.

At the end of that letter, I commented on the fact that almost three months after Albany County Executive Dan McCoy signed Paul Miller’s unanimously passed bill making Albany County parks smoke-free, there weren’t any no-smoking signs at Ann Lee Pond.  I mentioned that there were, however, butts.

Now there is a no-smoking sign at an entrance. The sign is unattractive and does not make it obvious about what is included in the law.

The no-smoking logo includes only a cigarette. The small print below does include the prohibition of “tobacco products, liquid nicotine or e-cigarettes,” but many people, sometimes including me, don’t always read the small print on signs.

Attractive signs that blend in with nature and that contain everything in the logo as well as good wording were available to the county at a very reasonable price because the artwork had been donated. Proofs had been given to the county executive months ago.

Unfortunately, the butts I saw were not the only problem. Specifically, there was a large pile of trash on the ground next to the receptacle for dog waste.

Over a period of several days, mounds of trash were observed there. In addition to the garbage being unsightly and anti-environmental, it can attract rats, raccoons, and even bears.

My first reaction was that I should contact the Albany County Department of Public Works and also write about the importance of the department regularly cleaning up the trash. However, upon reflection, I don’t believe that this is the solution to what is apparently an ongoing problem.

Workers should not have to clean up after people who don’t clean up after themselves. Also, cleaning up after them does nothing to prevent repeated recurrences of trash dumping and could even enable it.

The major focus needs to be on prevention. Important parts of the solution are simple. It was clear from the plastic bags in the trash pile that people had carried their trash as far as the dog-waste container, which could be mistaken for a garbage pail until one gets close enough to read the small label on the lid.

This, of course, is no excuse for leaving the trash on the ground rather than bringing it home to dispose of and recycle the things that were clearly recyclable.

Attractive signs that make it clear from a distance that these receptacles are for dog waste only are available on More important, park visitors should see “carry in, carry out” signs at all entrances. I hope this won’t take three months to accomplish.

Carol Waterman



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