Friday, May 18, 2018

Safe disposal of Drug Needles in our Parks

I never know what I'm going to find when I do a trash walk along the river. That's a single dose vial of Naloxone, the drug that can save the life of a person who is experiencing a heroin drug overdose.  I picked it up along the river at the sitting area across from the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Minneapolis. The good news is that perhaps someone had a second chance at getting out from this terrible epidemic. I wonder how available this drug is to the general public.  Do you need a prescription for it?  Could a family member get it easily?  How expensive is it?

I picked this needle up yesterday at the beach on the north side (Fisherman's Point) of Bassett Creek.  I've been out trash walking maybe 12 times this spring and I think this is my fourth or fifth needle that I've picked up.  I always place them inside an empty plastic bottle and dispose of in the trash.  So some cities are starting to put up needle disposal boxes in parks where they have a problem.  Is it time for Minneapolis Park and Rec to think about doing the same?  I would use a needle container to drop off the ones I find and maybe it would give the city an indication of how many are found.  And we need to remember that our parks are widely used by all sorts of people including folks who bring their 5 year old down to the river to learn how to skip stones. I guarantee you that kid is going to pick up that needle.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Spring Flood Finds

There's no getting those pants clean.  I fished them out of the river at Middle Beach just south of Bassett Creek on my leisurely walk from downtown to Ole Olson Park this afternoon. I left them to dry a little in the sun and then picked them up on my return trip. I've had some productive days picking up trash in the last month in spite of snow and now high water. With spring flooding here comes the flotilla of possessions from folks temporarily living on the river upstream.

Tarps, clothes, sleeping bags and miscellaneous junk gets snagged on trees along the shore.   I worked on some of that today, but I'll wait until the water recedes for most of it.  Or maybe the folks who come out for Earth Day on May 12th will find this spot and finish it off.

There were three or so plastic bags submerged in the water near shore that I dragged out.  I was hoping for money, but when I emptied them out I found all kinds of scrap metal including silverware and wire.  Ah, the efforts of someone along the river getting ready to sell scrap to Northern Metal.  Well, I dumped everything in the Park and Rec trash barrels except the copper wire.  I wonder what that's worth.  Probably not enough to buy myself a beer over at Pryes Brewery on the way back.  Perhaps someone could make an art project with that nice shiny wire.

When I finally arrived at Ole Olson I was hotter than heck and spring felt like we had gone straight to summer.  A group had already been there doing their cleanup thing.  Good work bringing those carts up from the river.  Time to slog home....and I did stop at Pryes Brewery to try their new Dublin Dry Stout. Yum!

Hall's Island Redux

I took a walk up to the Plymouth Bridge the last week of April to check what progress has been made in the makeover of Hall's Island.  Sometime in the middle of winter Hall's Island actually became an island again.  The work on undoing the destruction of past industry is moving forward.  I love that the city is recreating habitat for birds and wildlife.

The first trees are waiting to be planted.  Eventually there will be a pedestrian bridge to the island but for now it is off limits to people while they reestablish vegetation suitable to attract the new residents.
 These interesting looking black birds were near the Hall's Island site.  I've either never seen these before on the Mississippi River or I just didn't notice them before.  They look like a small black duck in the water but when they get out they have more of a chicken-like body.  American Coot or sometimes called mud hens, they have the most interesting feet.  They look something like some strange seaweed attachment.  I got as close as they would allow me to take a picture but eventually they took off running across the water before they finally got airborne.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Morning walk along Minnehaha Creek

Minnehaha Creek below the falls is running pretty fast these days.  Several of the bridges that cross the creek are underwater. That foot of snow we got two weeks ago is largely melted although there still is some snow hanging onto the cliffs beside the falls. There were some muddy spots along the trail this morning and even one patch of ice.

I wasn't looking for trash this morning.  I was looking for spring flowers.  There was plenty of skunk cabbage in all that moisture.

I was able to identify three plants this morning without the benefit of the internet. Yeah! The yellow one is Marsh Marigold.  I remember seeing it at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden last year.

This white one is Bloodroot.  Most of the plants were finished blooming so I felt lucky to find one that still looked good.

At the end of the trail is a sandstone cliff that has been sculpted over the years with faces, hearts, names and at least one marriage proposal.  So what about trash in the park.  There is plenty to pick up and the Earth Day event is Saturday May 12th.  Hopefully some of the flooding will be down and the trails will be less muddy for that event.