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May 6, 2012: Terminal Landscapes

Terminal Landscapes – this is what photographs of unpeopled areas called. Right now, this is my favorite photographic subject. I like the incongruity. This was the assigned subject for the meeting of this month’s Mat-Su Photo Club. Several did as I did, and took photos of abandoned vehicles in naturalistic settings.

I was, as I looked at the photos, struck by the fact that dumping vehicles and other garbage in wilderness and non-wilderness areas is a very Alaska kind of thing. People routinely take what is no longer useful to them and put it

elsewhere. Out of sight, out of mind. Elsewhere might be on or off the beaten path.

You don’t have to go far around here to see this kind of thing. I’m surrounded by it. It’s interesting subject matter photographically, but that’s about it. There’s a Volvo graveyard, a plywood palace, and a litter lot within hailing distance. The general area has become eyesore central.

There are numerous reasons for this kind of behavior. Some private property owners are of the mind that parts might later be useful. Some are hoarders. Others don’t want to pay dump fees. And there are yet still others who say “This is my land and I will do what I want to do with it.”

This attitude is erroneously insular because each and every piece of large machinery is a miniature toxic waste dump. Gas, oil, anti-freeze, transmission fluid – it all goes into the soil. And soil doesn’t have property boundaries. The ecosystem is becoming contaminated. This doesn’t bode well for area wildlife.

And what about the next property owner? I know of a place that was once a transmission shop. It was later purchased by some individuals who started a feed store. The contaminated ground was rightly, on the part of many livestock owners, a cause for concern.

I didn’t used to be for zoning because I figured that this was an unnecessary infringement. But as of late, I’ve been forced to reconsider. It’s just too bad that some lack foresight.

Next: 150. 05/7/12: And Hrimfara Makes Five