April 19, 2016


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The nice thing about winter in North Dakota is that the snow can cover up a lot of the trash that accumulates in our road ditches. But with all of our snow long gone, the ugliness of winter has become readily apparent across much of McKenzie County. And that ugliness is all of the roadside litter that is suddenly no longer hidden by the winter’s snow.
All that roadside garbage that has been strewn along our highways and into the road ditches has become a blight on our countryside. It is an ugly sore that just seems to fester on the good conscience of the people of McKenzie County who shake their heads in disbelief that motorists apparently think that tossing empty bottles and cans, as well as sacks of garbage, and a whole lot more junk into the road ditches is the proper way of disposing of garbage.
It’s easy to blame all of the roadside garbage on people who are working in the oil industry. And without a doubt, much of the garbage that is filling our road ditches is from truck drivers and other oilfield workers who would rather toss the garbage out the window of their vehicle than leave it in their vehicle until they can properly dispose of it. But oilfield workers aren’t the only culprits in the garbage tossing. There are plenty of other people who carelessly toss things into the road ditches.
So there is plenty of blame for the mess to go around.
The question is, “who is going to do something about cleaning up the ditches?”
The answer to that question is, “we are!” All of us that take pride in this area are going to have to take some of our precious time and do our part to “Pick Up The Patch.”
That is why organizers of Watford City’s “Pick Up The Patch” event, which will be held on Saturday, April 30, are busy getting the word out that it’s time for area businesses, organizations and individuals to make plans to do their part in this one-day event to clean up the litter around Watford City and along the road ditches coming into town.
As someone who has helped clean the ditches in the past, I can tell you that it isn’t necessarily an easy job. You’re going to do a lot more bending over than you would have ever dreamed of. And you’re going to find that the amount of garbage you’ll be picking up is staggering.
But there is a huge intrinsic reward in joining forces with the hundreds of other volunteers you will be working the ditches with. And that is that you are doing your part to make this area clean again. After all, no one wants the roads coming into Watford City to be a “black eye” to our community as we welcome summer vacationers to this area or to the thousands of former residents who will be returning at the end of June for our Homefest Celebration.
Together, we can make a difference..