River Vandals
by Art Straub

While searching for mussel shells on our favorite sandbar Sunday afternoon, we observed four young hunters, replete with camouflage clothing emerge from the woods and plunk themselves down in the soft sand where Rush River meets the Minnesota River. One of the lads proceeded to pull a can of "something" from his hunting vest, drink a deep swig and then pass it to his buddies. Such unselfish comraderie! He then proceeded to scoop a hole in the sand, and bury the can!

A few moments later, two of the brave hunters raised their shotguns to the sky and blazed away. What goofy flying fowl would buzz over four obvious hunters? None, of course. The unlucky target happened to be a great blue heron. Thanks to the wind, the heron went on its way as did the lads before we could overtake them. There is a constitutional amendment on the November ballot which would guarantee folks the right to hunt, fish and trap into the future. This right does not guarantee people the right now or in the future to abuse our natural resources and brazenly break the law!

Property owners up and down the river are tired of cleaning up after slobs! Great strides have been made in educating people to the tremendous value of our water resources. But lots of folks are not getting the message.

All- terrain vehicles and trucks are using the Rush River, whose stream is low at this time, as their private raceway. A certain few delight in getting their automobiles stuck in the soft sands, even driving into the river, then proceeding to dig themselves out. Such fun! Meanwhile, a delicate ecosystem is being ruined while incalculable damage is occurring where Rush River enters the Minnesota River. 

Personal water craft have discovered the river as well...jet-skies, believe it or not. As they carom past the high banks, water slaps against the bank, the bank crumbles into the river.

On an evening in late September, people launched an air-boat at Henderson and brought the monster up to the mouth of Rush River to fish. The ear-splitting solitude-shattering roar could be heard more than a mile away! Can you picture in your mind the effect of THAT wake on the high banks of the river?

Last weekend a person on a four-wheeler had a grand time racing back and forth on the sloping sand and mud bars near Rush River. Sunday morning found little trace of the previous day's fun. Of course not, as a half inch of heavy rain over evening washed the soil into the river! No wonder the river is so shallow. Are there others OUT THERE who are as disgusted with the actions of a few, or are we in left field without a catcher's mitt? 

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