Trails in Williston Highlands are being trashed.
The community in eastern Levy County features a network of secluded roads and walking trails throughout the Goethe State Forest and surrounding forests. Trash is scattered on the trails, including large items like sofas, baby cribs and even a boat.
People who live there are not sure who is dropping all of the trash, but said they believe the problem is stemming from either local construction workers or other residents who do not want to take the time to go to the local trash dump. The trash dump is about 13 miles away from the community in Bronson.
Tom Ten Broeck lives in Williston walks the trails daily for physical therapy. He said the first few times he saw trash on the trails it was mostly smaller things, but as time passed, he started to see more trash and bigger items.
“At first it was a little here and there, bottles, cups, things like that, then I started noticing things like construction debris like blocks, paint cans and lumber, things like that from houses,” Ten Broeck said.
He even saw a boat.
He said he’s seen other big items, but the boat remains the biggest of the bunch.
Ten Broeck said he initially was angered about the trash, but that anger slowly quelled into disappointment.
“You kinda feel very disappointed in your fellow humans for taking care of the areas in which they live in,” Ten Broeck said. “Instead of trying to preserve this, they’re just trashing it.”
Ten Broeck said he was pretty certain the trash had been brought to the county and city’s attention, but they haven’t done anything about it yet.
Scott Tummond, spokesman for the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, said people leaving trash are either unwilling to make their way to the trash dump in Bronson or to pay the fee for dumping trash.
Tummond said it was the property owners’ responsibility to clean up the trash. He added that local government entities only have the authority to investigate the trash, but they were frustrated by a lack of information.
He said he wants residents to pay attention and give the sheriff’s office information on people dumping trash.
“Help us help you,” he said.
Ten Broeck said he hopes the people who leave trash will be caught and punished by cleaning up all of the trash.
“This is the only planet we got,” he said, “and we need to take care of it.”