The following is from www.footprintsmatter.org, a community involved organization to provide education and awareness to northern Pinal county, particularly in the areas of indiscriminate dumping and shooting debris. You may find out more about this organization at www.footprintsmatter.org.
Early Saturday morning, the 17th of January, 283 Volunteers showed up on the Tonto National Forest on Hewitt Station Road near Whitlow Dam, and 119 reported to areas on the Arizona State Trust Land between Gold Canyon and Superior ready to ‘Make a Difference’. And we did…just short of 40 tons of debris were picked, raked, bucketed by a diverse crowd. The main focus area was the 10 target shooting areas along Hewitt Station Road and at the base of the mountain to Whitlow Dam, and we were able to clean ALL of those sites on Saturday. A clean-up by Superior’s businesses and Resolution Copper Mining on Friday allowed for additional Tonto National Forest acreage up FS 172 to be included. The Polish and Pride Program near Peralta Road and El Camino Veijo allowed volunteers to continue their vested interest in stewardship of all the original areas of concern since 2010.
“The diversity of the Volunteers was the most amazing part of this year’s event,” Sue Schaffer, leader said, at lunch, “You had boy scouts talking with ranchers, who were passing the mustard to environmentalists, who were comparing notes about how much trash they picked up with gun enthusiasts & off roaders.” It was fantastic to see that many folks, who under other circumstances wouldn't have the time of day for the other, finding common ground.
The support of local businesses and organizations contributed to the success of the day; companies like Liberty Utilities and Empire Cat logged in their 6th year of participation. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, parents with children, participating and learning new responsibility. We had new supporters this year, like Red Bear Outfitters who donated lunch for the volunteers, and Resolution Copper Mining, who supported this effort with equipment, roll-ons, coffee and donuts and most importantly for all the volunteers the ‘porta-johns with sanitization stations’.
Organizations like Superstition Area Land Trust, who support this grass-roots organization, Pinal Partnership Open Space, Gold Canyon Soroptimists, Gold Canyon Lions, Ranchers, OHV clubs, Tonto Recreational Alliance, Superior Chamber of Commerce and many, many more volunteers brought smiles and a willingness to work hard. Residents from near and far, took up ownership of this area as well as a new group of 100+ volunteers, members of the National Rifle Association and various Gun Clubs who came from as far away as Marana, Glendale and North Phoenix and jumped right in to help.
We certainly left GOOD FOOTPRINTS - now we need to spread the word to educate others and bring awareness to this huge behavioral problem that is becoming more and more common in Arizona. It is through Self Responsibility, Education, Knowledge and Ownership that we can make a difference; Enforcement, Regulation and Limited Access is and should be the last resort.
Where we can go from here? Footprints Matter under the guidance and direction of Superstition Area Land Trust along with all partners will continue to educate the users of Arizona State Trust Land, National Forests and BLM for responsible use. We look forward to signage from our partners at Tread Lightly to help provide specific knowledge of use. But most importantly, we need to rely on you to help establish ownership and self-responsibility.
The two educational videos attached with this email are intended for everyone to watch and learn! We think it will provide a tool for education and knowledge of this unbecoming behavior and abuse.
PLEASE SHARE IT!
Our thanks for the fun short drone video from our new friends at RideNow Powersports, and to Lowman Photography and Resolution Copper for the last minute…can do and let's get it done attitude which resulted in the 5 minute educational video.