All of us moved to Payson for one reason or another, but most of us would agree that it was the serenity or beauty of nature that attracted us.
But Payson is growing ever larger and busier, and soon summer will not only bring flowers and fruit, but also plenty of flatlanders folks from Phoenix and other hectic, cement-filled cities. They come to enjoy what some of us take for granted nature.
I recently moved from inner Payson to the quiet of East Verde Estates. This is a small community nestled along the East Verde River, which is more of a creek in our area. There are signs posted that say: "private property," "no trespassing," "no parking any time," etc. But with the onset of spring, these signs become invisible for most, especially those flatlanders.
They come on the weekends and park in front of our homes, they take strolls along our creek and enjoy our beautiful nature.
But enjoyment and appreciation and respect don't seem to go hand-in-hand.
On my own walks along the creek, I find more and more trash left behind by other people. I have taken to bringing a plastic bag with me in an attempt to pick up this ugly reminder of "civilization."
Our small community is not the only one suffering from these side effects. Have you ever walked the breathtaking trails in Whispering Pines, Beaver Valley and along Houston Mesa Road or visited the campgrounds in those areas after a summer weekend?
If you plan on picking up after those careless visitors, don't bother bringing a small plastic bag. Instead, come armed with a pickup truck, rolls of plastic trash bags and as many friends as you can get a hold of.
You will undoubtedly find cases of empty beer cans, plastic bottles, candy wrappers, empty potato chip bags, fast food containers, paper plates and plastic utensils galore. And let's not forget the dozens of filthy diapers left on the ground or floating in the gurgling streams.
Some campers and visitors are considerate enough to collect their trash in bags, only to discard it somewhere in the forest where the wildlife will get into it, often becoming injured by broken glass or entangled in plastic six-pack holders.
I wouldn't mind sharing the beauty of this area if only I could find more signs of respect and admiration instead of thoughtlessness and destruction.
If it wasn't for all those volunteers we have all seen along the roads, dressed in bright orange vests, picking up trash, we would quickly find ourselves ankle deep in trash.
So do come, all you city folks, flatlanders and Valley people, for I cannot stop you. But when you return to the rush of your city lives, for nature's sake, take your trash back home with you. There must be some dumpsites left in Phoenix somewhere.
Christine Davis, East Verde Estates