Editorial: Going fishing? Clean up your gear
DuPage County, like all the counties that dot the area, has many lakes and ponds stocked with fish that attract anglers.
It's a wonderful pastime, often handed down from one generation to the next.
Unfortunately, it also creates a problem for the wildlife once the anglers have left.
That's because too many leave behind their fishing lines, hooks and lures, injuring wildlife like birds, turtles and ducks.
Being responsible and picking up fishing trash should be a simple job to do for someone enjoying a day out in the forest preserve. But for people like Amy Tavolino of Wheaton that is often not the case.
"I am not anti-fishing," Tavolino told the Daily Herald's Robert Sanchez. "I just want to get the word out because there's so many people that don't know about this."
Indeed, runners, walkers and other passive users of the forest preserves might not even notice what Tavolino spends countless volunteer hours searching for and picking up, the fishing trash left behind by irresponsible anglers.
The Daily Herald is not anti-fishing either. But it's unfathomable what some users of the forest preserves refuse to do, even when the job of recycling that trash has been made easy by county forest preserve district.
Five years ago, the DuPage County Forest Preserve District started posting monofilament recycling bins around its busier lakes.
Signs have been added showing pictures of injured wildlife and asking fishermen to recycle their line responsibly.
Yet, while talking to Sanchez, Tavolino found a long fishing line on the ground that had a hook and rubber worm attached to it at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve near Wheaton, just steps from one of the recycling bins.
"They don't care," Tavolino said. "They just kick it aside. Don't leave it laying around, because something will get stuck on it -- something will die from it."
Bob McNeel, assistant manager of the DuPage district's west rangers, echoed her concern.
"We want people to be able to recreate in the preserves and utilize the resources," he said. "But we want them to also to do it responsibly."
Remember when leaving trash in parks was a common occurrence? Think Mad Men in the early 1960s. Now, most people realize trash belongs in a bin, not blowing in the wind.
It's well past the time that anglers learn those 50-year-old lessons and pick up their strewn fishing tackle.