By Kelsey Verboom

Observing the appalling amount of litter in Kootenay National Park, and writing about excessive speeding and picking up newborn animals along the park highway makes me wonder if a new breed of idiot humans have been beamed down to planet Earth. What the heck are we doing to one of our most precious resources?

Sure, people grumble about the government and Parks Canada politics, but when it comes down to it, national parks such as the one right in our own backyard are invaluable. They are the one guaranteed source of mostly unblemished nature amidst a world of concrete, chugging machinery, and pollution. Treating Kootenay National Park as we have been lately is a shameful thing.

I drove to Banff last weekend and saw a very small bear walking beside the road, licking a pop can. It made my heart hurt. The ditches on both sides of the highway were dotted with a disgusting amount of litter: beer cans, tossed CDs, dirty diapers, and Tim Hortons paraphernalia. Come on, we can conquer almost every aspect of modern science, medicine, and technology; surely we can learn to not throw garbage on the ground.

Our actions on the road have a direct impact on the wildlife that calls the park home. Although the people who picked up the Bighorn sheep lamb and carried it around (see story, Page 5) may have meant well, they really shouldnt have ever stepped out of their vehicles. Its amazing to witness the impressive wildlife in the park, but the minute you open your car door and step towards a wild animal, you are shattering the boundary between humans and wildlife a boundary that is meant to be there.

Lastly, we all need to ease off the gas pedal a little. Ive heard a lot of people complaining about the recent seizing of vehicles in the park for excessive speeding. Personally, I think its great. For years people in the valley have moaned about the dangerous drivers and shocking speeds in the park. Well, now theyre being dealt with, and people are complaining about that, too. If youre going 40 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, deal with the tough consequences.

Your home, job, family, or cabin will still be there in the extra half hour it will take you to drive the park if you just slow down, and enjoy the spectacular scenery.