Having spent my early years in Iowa, I remember seeking permission from farmers before we would hunt pheasants or rabbits, because most land was privately owned. This is the general rule of thumb in most states from the Great Plains to the East Coast.
However, living in the West in Payson is a unique geographical experience in that we are totally surrounded by the Tonto National Forest. This creates an opportunity to literally hike, hunt or fish anywhere we choose without obtaining permission from a landowner. This public land creates so much freedom to explore and enjoy the wilds of nature. Keep in mind that freedom also requires the responsibility to wisely use it.
In the 35 years I have lived in the Rim Country, there are still areas that I have not walked that are in my plans for future weekends. The vastness of the Tonto National Forest offers us plenty of wilderness areas to enjoy.
What I have noticed over the last couple of years is the ever-increasing amount of litter in our national forest close to town, as well as in the more remote areas. If you have walked the streambeds, canyon trails or the ridgelines, no doubt you have come upon aluminum cans, plastic bottles and garbage in general. I might add, litter just doesn't disappear on its own and is not solely the responsibility of the guys in the green truck.
If you are in need of a worthy New Year's resolution, how about considering the idea of making the Tonto National Forest a cleaner place because you used it.
When you are hunting, fishing or hiking, take a daypack and when you find litter, pack it out. Let's make the forest a cleaner place because we were there.
Together, we can make a difference, one piece of litter at a time.
This weekend enjoy the Rim Country, God's creation.