Letter: Public access attracts trespassing slobs

Letter: Public access attracts trespassing slobs


To the editor:

About the Hummocks story and public access park: While I feel empathy for Vicky Newbold and her neighbors, I can offer no hope for them. What has happened to the so-called public access, rights-of-way, on Aquidneck Island in the past several years is heartbreaking.

The users (abusers, is more like it) leave trash and filth of indescribable variety — from fishhooks, beer cans, plastic bags, to human excrement and old diapers, and leftover foods and smoldering fire pits. But because of the halo that protects such access began a century ago with the best of intentions, there is nothing — nothing! — that can or will be done. It’s sad but true.

And, as Ms. Newbold points out and my almost daily observation shows, most of the cars parked (mostly illegally) have Massachusetts license plates. Makes you wish for the $4 out-of-state toll, doesn’t it?

Nancy Merrick



  1. Nancy,

    Thank you for telling it like it is.

    Littering speaks loudly about the contempt a person feels about the world around them.

    And that “contempt” is not isolated to Aquidneck Island.

  2. A century ago, no one would logically assume that the correct way to “keep it clean” in a public park is for those responsible for keeping a park clean is to remove all trash cans, and trust that 100% of people who visit and generate trash, will then take that trash home with them.

    But that’s what we do with our Jewel In the Crown – Colt State Park.

    Of course, trash cans require – attention. People employed by the government. That means taxes.

    Most cities and towns’Public Works departments are out of the business of trash removal these days. Can’t afford for them to spend time on trash pickup as a routine. As a matter of fact most towns pay contractors for curbside pickup – so there is no one else to pick up trash.

    Want to clean trash at spots were people congregate? Put huge dumpsters and many trash cans nearby. Clear them regularly. It comes with other side effects of people dumping in them, but it will result in cleaner recreational spots. Don’t want diapers and human excrement? Where would they normally go? That’s what bathrooms and portajohns are for. The problem is the expectation that by not accommodating people, a problem will go away. It won’t. It can’t. And it doesn’t mean the public no longer deserves the access.

    Trust me – fishermen on the shore still had to go 100 years ago.