With regularity, when the mud's up, out of the margins of Patriot Park on the timbered side off S.C. 441, they come - the four-wheel mud monsters, ATVs and (yes!) even a golf cart. They come to joy ride. They came before COVID-19, and they have continued during the Patriot Park closure.
I know. I've been there, too, bending the regulations to suit my enjoyment of out-of-doors places to roam.
I walk, they ride. And as I walk along the tire tracks and navigate the skid zones, I wonder if the free-wheeling riders notice the damage they're doing. I wonder why it is they have no sensitivity toward the habitat trashed by their fun.
Have they never heard it said, touch the earth gently, a song lyric, a T-shirt slogan and a book title from long ago?
The marsh at the back of the park is all but destroyed. Today as I write, a nice chrome-wheeled white golf cart lies overturned and stuck in the marsh mud. Somebody went too far.
The resident fauna were long gone, however. No heron fish there anymore. The mallards moved on. The geese nest elsewhere. All because somebody's children view joyriding as their right.
Alas, season after season, these riders haven't cared about the consequences to the waterfowl and birds of the vicinity or the park paths or lawn areas either.
It makes me think we parents are failing our kids.
Patriot Park is a sports complex, not a nature preserve. It could be so much more, for the sake of everyone's education and enjoyment. It could be a training ground, a proving ground, for learning good stewardship of the public lands entrusted to our care.
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