Not Exactly Christmas Decorations in Virginia Parks

What comes in different shapes and sizes and can be found hanging from trees this time of the year?

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Unfortunately, some things hanging from trees are ugly and dangerous. People who fish leave behind fishing tackle and trash in parks all over Northern Virginia.

DSC_0165Fishing tackle can cripple wild birds and turtles. Along the waters edge at most Virginia parks that allow fishing you will encounter fishing lures and fishing line stuck in trees and bushes and on the ground. These lures and fishing line are ugly to look at and they both pose a threat to local and migratory wildlife.

Birds and other animals may get entangled in the fishing line or injured by fishing hooks. Wildlife can even get stuck in plastic containers or drink cans.

Some people that fish seem to have no problem carelessly leaving their trash behind. This is unfortunate because of the severe injuries this debris can cause.

Fishing hooks may be swallowed by wildlife and present life threatening injuries. Discarded monofilament line is very durable and persists in the environment for very long periods of time. This line can become wrapped around a leg, wing, anything and acts like a tourniquet slowing cutting off blood and nerve supply and damaging muscles and tendons, according to Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Apparently, the reason so many discarded lures can be found in Virginia parks is because people are casting their fishing line close to shore to fish for small fish to use as bait to fish for bigger fish. When lures get caught up in trees and bushes, they are simply cut loose and left in the park.

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Unsightly lures hang in parks for months and months. They are much more obvious during winter when most leaves have fallen leaving branchless trees. Surprisingly, there seems to be no effort by park and recreation employees to cut them down nor remove fishing line that is strewn about in the same areas.

You can help prevent wildlife injuries and death by keeping an eye open for lures and fishing line when you are near ponds, lakes or rivers. Discard items in the trash or alert park officials to the problem. Hopefully, Virginia’s county park and recreation departments will become more proactive in removing debris from parks.

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I found this fishing line at the water’s edge at Germantown Lake in Northern Virginia. It was one long piece that I estimate at 30 feet or more.
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