To the editor:
Save the Wakarusa Wetlands organizes cleanups on 31st Street from Haskell Avenue west across the Haskell Indian Nations University campus and beyond. Several times a year, we fill 30 to 40 large trash bags. We also find tires, wallboard and large chunks of building materials. Others, including Haskell's Wetland Preservation Organization and Kansas University's Young Republicans, have helped pick litter out of the wetlands. This is hot, dirty and somewhat hazardous work. Some of us come in high boots to retrieve trash from the adjacent waters before wildlife become ensnared by plastic goods that often cause slow deaths.
Many months ago, signs at both ends of the 1.5-mile section we maintain were removed. At the Haskell Avenue end new signage says Wal-Mart, not Save the Wakarusa Wetlands, does the work! Calls to the county indicated it was all a "mistake." The old signs were in very bad shape. Apparently county employees accidentally painted a new sign based on outdated paperwork for that section.
We were assured the error would be corrected. Months have passed while the sign misinforms the public that Wal-Mart maintains 31st Street through the wetlands. We are organizing our fall cleanup. Understandably, some volunteers are reluctant to spend hours doing stoop labor earning Wal-Mart false credit for being socially responsible and environmentally friendly. Hopefully, this letter will speed the slow wheels of our county government.