LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Park Superintendent Travis Clairmont said the melting snow has unveiled a disappointing amount of trash throughout the state reservation.
"With the rapid snowmelt this year an amount of trash magically appeared over a two-week period," Clairmont said in his report Thursday to the Mount Greylock Advisory Council. "It is demoralizing to our staff ... and it is absolutely disgusting."
Clairmont said trash and dog poop can be found at essentially every trailhead and parking area in and around the reservation.
"Some parking lots you can't even walk through with all of the trash and dog feces," he said. "It is embarrassing, and I don't know what to do about it."
Council members agreed and Scott Lewis said he can't make it a mile up Greylock Road without filling a five-gallon bucket with trash and having to empty it.
Council member Joe Rogge said he too has noticed an influx of trash, not only around the mountain but in his own community, Adams.
"This year has been the year of trash ... people just dump it out all over," he said. "Maybe everyone thinks because it is a pandemic they don't have to follow the rules."
Mark Jester, of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, said with the good snowpack this year the mountain just received a lot of visitors.
"We did have a lot of visitors this winter ... it is a sad situation because the staff work so hard to keep it clean," he said. "We want more commitment from our visitors."
He said DCR used to provide plastic dog poop bags but he was not confident this was the answer. He felt signage could help matters.
Clairmont felt outreach and education was the answer but was not sure how to go about it.
Clairmont continued with his report and said he plans to open the mountain roads on May 22, weather permitted. He said Bascom lodge will also reopen.
He said seasonal staff has switched from winter to summer and work continues on the mountain. He said they continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines.
"The pandemic is still raging on so that makes it difficult in the workplace with more staff coming on," he said.
He said backcountry campsites remain closed although staff has received many calls inquiring about them.
There were a few rescues on the mountain this winter and Clairmont said they were mostly skiers and snowmobilers.
The mountain was busy this winter season, he said. "It was a tremendous winter and we have seen amazing snowfall up there through February and March."
Clairmont said the beacon on the memorial tower was malfunctioning but has been repaired. He said the light is controlled by a solar cell and a timed clock that is difficult to get to, especially in the winter.
"There was a lot of chiseling and shoveling over a few days," he said. "It took a few days to melt the lock on the door but we got in and updated to a digital one. So now I don't have to go up there for something like this anymore."