Letter: Keep forests beautiful
Gone are the days when people knew what the word respect meant. I grew up in Colorado with a deep love for our forests and respect for nature. As a photographer, I have spent the last few years traveling around our beautiful state and was saddened by how much of our forest is falling prey to the pine beetles. There miles and miles of dead trees in some areas with the rest following.
In Garfield County the devastation is not yet so bad and we may still have a few years before they too are all dead. I love to take the road up West Elk Creek to the national forest, and have stopped on many occasions at a small area about a mile from the trailhead to have my lunch before I go on down the road that eventually leads to Meadow Lake.
On Memorial Day weekend, a group of people where camping in this area so I just passed on by, but returned a few days later. To my horror, they had left the area totally trashed. Beer bottles, empty bullet shells, burnt cans, broken bottles and glass shards everywhere. I felt so upset. How could they do this? It’s a privilege to be able to camp in our forests without a fee. The forests are a gift for us to enjoy all year around for hiking, camping and other outdoor activities. The Forest Service, county and volunteers keep the roads clear to keep access open so we can continue to drive through these beautiful woods.
There were several rule these campers had violated. First and foremost, they left all their trash behind. Second, they were shooting guns where they shouldn’t have. It’s quite obvious they had no respect for nature and the following visitors to the area.
Pack it in, pack it out. Please remember these are your national forests. Check your area before you leave and make sure you take all your trash out, including spent ammunition shells if you are legally able to use guns in your area.
Please don’t try and burn your trash. Rules are there to protect us and our forests. Be considerate and don’t leave a mess for the next person. If you see someone not following the rules, don’t confront them for your own safety, report them to the local sheriff or person of authority in the area. You can find more information online at http://www.lnt.org or 1-800-332-4100.
Thanks to all of you who are responsible and do clean up after yourself. Also a big thank-you to the Forest Service, residents and volunteers who help to maintain our national forests and public lands so we may continue to enjoy them for many years to come.
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