For an audio version of this post, please click on the speaker icon (top left).
The year 2020 will go down as one of the strangest years in the record books.
Major cities and entire countries were shuttered as the world went into lock down.
One of the sectors that took a major hit was the travel industry.
As people no longer had the ability to go beyond their normal geographic circle for leisure, they turned to more local places to visit.
The result of this new migratory pattern became the basis for this post.
A little background.
I have previously written about my primary residence, which contains 7.67 acres of land and two natural waterfalls.
Because of this land my family and I have been featured on a national TV show (HGTV’s What You Get For The Money), been written up in a few newspaper articles, as well as having been included in a popular waterfall guide book.
Although the waterfalls, and my entire property, is technically on private property, I have always allowed the general public access so that they too could see the waterfalls in person.
I felt that these natural wonders were too beautiful not to share with others outside of my circle of friends and family.
So ever since I have moved here (2006) it was not unusual that, every once in awhile, a group would pull up, park their car in my parking pad, and go down the decks to see the falls.
For the most part the visitors were respectful of my privacy and property.
On one occasion, when I was on the hammock, I saw a man and an elderly woman coming up the stairs from the main deck and the man actually used a broom I had set aside to sweep the steps to clear it of some leaves that accumulated.
That was truly going above and beyond.
Rarely would I find any trash left on the decks, etc, so I was happy to let this arrangement continue.
That is until 2020.
It seems that while everyone was concerned about their own personal space during the pandemic, they seemed to have lost concern for others.
I noticed there was a considerable uptick in visitors to my property during the lock down as the more traditional places to relax were no longer accessible.
I did not mind the increased volume and really did not have much concern about viral transmission as the groups were typically small (6 people or less) and social distancing was not an issue given the setting.
However I did notice that the current crop of visitors did not display the same respect to the property as those from the prior years.
Several groups could be seen smoking on their way down to the falls as well as on the waterfall decks.
When my daughter and I would go down to the falls ourselves later on we would find empty packs of cigarettes and cigarette butts strewn about on the decks and steps.
Sometimes visitors would treat my property as a dog park.
I witnessed a pickup pull up into my property with two very large dogs whom they just let loose in my yard and which then followed the owners, who were also smoking the whole time, down the steps to the waterfall.
One time there was a family of 5 that pulled up in a mini van.
I happened to be in the office at the time and could see them taking large fountain drinks etc down to the falls.
The next morning I went down to the falls (I was preparing for a party that evening) and saw that they left one of those large 32 oz fountain drinks from Sams club, about 3/4 full on the railing for me to take care of.
On top of that there were some discarded articles of clothing strewn on the lower deck (socks, etc) from this family who basically treated my property as one big trash receptacle.
I was beyond infuriated.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was on one particular evening when I was looking out the kitchen window one day making dinner.
I noticed that the outdoor tree lights and waterfall deck lights were on and it was not even dusk.
I thought maybe my daughter or I had mistakenly left the lights on so I turned them off from inside the house.
I then happened to see a gentleman come up from the lower deck and flip the switch to turn them back on at the outdoor location and then go back down.
I couldn’t believe the nerve of that guy.
I then went to the fuse box and shut the entire system down for good.
I saw the guy re-emerge and try valiantly to turn the lights back on from that same spot with no success.
He shrugged to his female companion who also emerged momentarily after.
Mind you it was still daylight outside and there was no need for these external lights to be on to enjoy the falls.
Granted the electricity use and impact on the remaining life of all the bulbs was absolutely minimal but I still could not believe that someone had the audacity to not only take advantage of my kindness but automatically assume they could use my electricity as well.
At this moment I decided that my generosity had been pushed to the limits and I decided to stop things in their tracks immediately.
Closed to the public.
Although I hated to do it, and felt it also spoiled a bit of the natural beauty of my property, I posted several no trespassing signs at various entry points.
I also got a great wireless driveway alarm that was placed near my mailbox that alerted me of any activity.
I was truly impressed with the product as it worked despite the distance and elevation between the mailbox and my home.
As an added bonus I could also tell that the mail had been delivered without having to walk down the long driveway to check on it.
I even contacted the author of the waterfall handbook, who happens to be a friend of mine on Facebook, to ask him to change my waterfall description from public to private for any future editions, which he said he would do.
He also mentioned that he would change my property from public access to private on his website to have a more immediate effect.
Even with these measures in place there were rare occasions when a now unwanted visitor would pull up to my home to see the falls.
Maybe they missed the signs (which I would think would be unlikely), or maybe they just ignored them, but if they were already down at the falls I created a printed note which I placed on their windshield instructing them that this property was now officially closed to the general public and the reason the change was made.
On one occasion I caught the previously mentioned pickup pulling in again with the large dogs in the back and told them that unfortunately they would have to turn around because of the issues I had with trash.
It has been several months since this change has been made and I no longer have any issues with trash or unexpected public visitors.
It truly is a shame that a few bad apples can ruin it for the rest of us but it is what it is.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN