By Adam Triplett ’10
Arizona is a state full of beauty and amazing natural landscapes that provide the backdrop to our lives.
Unfortunately, the majesty of the country can sometimes be neglected and taken for granted. Wherever there are people, trash inevitably follows.
Every weekend when I go out onto a trail, I find pop cans, plastic food wrappers, glass bottles, drywall, car parts, sofas, filing cabinets; you name it, it’s out there. Some people have decided that the world is their trashcan. It seems like such an insurmountable amount of trash is piling up in Arizona’s backcountry that there is nothing you can do.
Regularly there are cleanups sponsored by off-road clubs, local stores or private individuals. The most recent of such events was the Four Peaks area cleanup, which was held Feb. 6. This was the third annual cleanup around Four Peaks, which includes Sycamore Creek and The Rolls OHV (off-highway vehicle) area around Saguaro Lake north of Mesa.
The first year of the event, there were around 250 volunteers who picked up roughly seven tons of trash. The next year, 500 volunteers. The number has been growing ever since.
This year volunteers filled up five, 40-cubic-yard trash containers, more than tripling the first year’s cleanup.
There are also organizations that go out more often than just once a year.
Tonto Recreation Alliance, TRAL, is one such alliance. They put together cleanups, trail repairs, surveys and several other activities oriented towards giving back to the land we all enjoy.
Past all that, you, the individual, can do your part to cleanup the ever growing amount of trash circulating around Arizona.
Each weekend I am out on a trail I can easily pick up more then one bag full of what other people have left.
Next time you go out on a trip, take a trash bag or two and pick up the trash you can see. Every little part helps.
Remember the old outdoor adage: Pack it in, pack it out.
For more information on how to help, visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/home.shtml