Lanterns litter ground, trees at local golf course

Category:  News
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 at 7:25 PM
Lanterns litter ground, trees at local golf course by Macala Leigey
Photo: Jacob McCool

The soft, colorful tissue paper crinkles in the wind. The lantern’s source of life begins to dim against the dark sky. As the inner, wire- wrapped candle softens its glow, the delicate lantern slowly sinks to the earth; abandoning its innocence in the night sky and becoming nothing but a piece of evidence against man, and a hazard for the nature around it.

“It’s litter. When people let these things go in the middle of the night, I know they look beautiful, but they’re going on other people’s property,” said owner of Culbertson Hills Golf Course Donald Orr.

Orr continued, “What concerns me the most is when you analyze one of these lanterns, there’s really fine wiring that’s holding this thing together, and you have birds and animals, and they just can’t help but get caught in it, and they’re going to die.”

Orr noticed the lanterns littering his property Monday, laying not only on the green, but also in the trees on the course.

“We went out there Monday. There were all these paper lanterns in our tress, in our fields, on our golf course, [and] on our greens.”

He continued, “My brother picked up at least 20, and I still have probably, who knows how many — we have 332 acres here. They all came in one stream, right across our new hole. Who knows how many are across the street yet.”

Regarding where the lanterns came from, Orr shared that he has “no idea” who lit the lanterns, nor where they were released.

“I’m thinking about the environment. It’s getting in the water stream. It’s pollution. I’m just so upset. Littering is a big thing. You can’t be a public dump,” he said.

This is not the first time lost lanterns have littered the Edinboro golf course.

“I’ve had it happen once or twice before, but I only found maybe five or six of them (lanterns),” Orr said.

Orr’s business was not directly impacted or damaged by the littering. “It was late enough in the year. There was no effect on business. Just sad to see liter,” he explained.

Orr also expressed what precautions could be taken to avoid future incidents of littering or harming Edinboro’s wildlife. 

“I think it (releasing lanterns) should be banned,” he said. “They are lit with a candle. It’s autumn, the leaves are dry, [and] all it takes is one spark [and] you’re going to cause a big fire. I just think they should be outlawed. It would be great if you could let them go in the air and have a fishing line on them or a kite line, so when they go up you can pull them back down and discard them.”

While the lanterns are signs of pollution that occurs in Edinboro, other forms of contamination and environmental issues also affect the community.

According to Facts Web, for 2016, Edinboro has a Superfund index of 20, based on a 1 to 100 scale; with higher values being better for Erie County’s environment. Superfund is a program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which according to the EPA’s website, “is responsible for cleaning up some of the nation’s most contaminated land and responding to environmental emergencies, oil spills, and natural disasters.”

Facts Web also reported Edinboro’s air quality index to be 23.2, and its water quality index to be 79; both based on a 1 to 100 scale, with higher values being better for the environment.

Edinboro University student Jacob Baumgartner, who is currently enrolled in Edinboro’s environmental issues course commented on the town’s environment.

“A big problem [in Edinboro] would be the Zebra Mussels in Edinboro lake. They are an invasive species and they are killing a lot of natural animals in the lake. Besides that, not many prominent problems [in Edinboro].”

Baumgartner also encouraged students to, “recycle more, and understand what’s going on here, in Edinboro, affects the whole world, not just the region.” 

Macala Leigey is the news editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at

Tags: news, golf course

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