Having lived in the Trinidad area for more than 40 years, Martin Smuckler's recent letter regarding our trash/litter situation struck a chord in my heart (Mailbox, Sept. 2).
When I first moved to California in the 1970s, highways were posted with signs stating "$1,000 fine for littering." Although that fine was most likely rarely levied, it let folks traveling through our area know that pride is taken in our surroundings, our environment and littering/trashing could have consequences.
Fast forward 40 years and trash seems to be everywhere ... the last couple years have exploded (homelessness is a factor, yes).
Here's a truth coming from a grandma — littering is much more likely when an individual sees litter and trash everywhere. If it is clean to start with, chances are way better trash will be properly disposed of.
How we do anything is how we do everything, and if we, as long-time Humboldt residents, keep our place clean, let travelers and recent residents know, "We don't litter here — this is Humboldt!" If we kindly and gently remind anyone we see littering, "Hey, not here," and each, even without formally organizing, attempt to keep even our local areas where we each frequent picked up, I predict things could improve.
A big thank you to the Caltrans Roadside Maintenance Department, which is picking up trash on state highways again. I definitely notice the difference and am inspired. Let's all be contributors to making their jobs easier by changing the evolving culture from "trash is OK" to one that demonstrates community pride in our public places and, perhaps, hopefully teaches others a new way. (When in Humboldt, do as the Humboldtians do?)
Humboldt, although changed through the years, is still a precious gem that deserves care and appreciation; a unique place with still enough people on the right page to turn this around.
Lucy Kostrzewa, Westhaven