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Lost in the woods, or stolen?

Last weekend, as I returned from a day of bass fishing on the St. Regis Lakes, I carefully placed a black and teal colored, Mountainsmith pack on the dock at the public landing since it had my most valuable belongings. I left the other gear in the boat.

After the confusion of replacing a number of blown fuses in the truck, I hitched up the trailer and drove away. In the hustle, I didn't realize that I'd left the pack behind. It contained a Sony Cybershot digital camera (with a Vivatar lens cap), a 20 year collection of fly and spin tackle, a spruce colored, EMS GorTex jacket, a cell phone and my sportsman's wallet.

I was almost to town when I remembered. After dropping the boat and trailer at a friend's house, I immediately returned to the landing. Although I was only gone for about 20 minutes, the pack and all my valuables was gone for at least 19.

Over the years, I've found numerous items at the St. Regis landing ranging from Skilsaws to chainsaws, lunch buckets to tackle boxes. Commonly, such items are left by construction crews, or on the rare occasion, by an absent-minded angler. They were always returned.

There is a certain degree of satisfaction that comes with returning a lost item. Usually, all it takes is a note posted on the dock's bulletin board or at the local post office. Notice can also be given to the lake stewards, who greet boaters upon arrival at the boat landing. Even the local newspapers offer free ads for lost and found items as a public service.

It's always nice to see an individual's appreciation upon retrieving their lost items. The reward is a genuine good feeling for doing the right thing. It's a wonder they are so happy when another human being is simply being honest.

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