I am a 14-year-old who has lived in the Payson and Pine area for about eight years. I love to hunt, fish, hike, camp and ride motorcycles in the forest area around Payson and Pine.
I had to go to Hunters' Education class in order to hunt, and my grandpa made me read a complete manual on motorcycle riding and safety before I could even get on a motorcycle. It seems adults are always trying to teach us kids how to be responsible and take care of our environment.
Then, along comes an irresponsible adult who leaves a campfire burning in our mountains, and now we have a forest fire burning in February. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize how dry our forests are and how they need to be extra careful.
Now it is time for us kids to start teaching the adults some lessons. We can set a great example by cleaning up our campsites, putting fires out completely, staying on trails and designated roads and being responsible for our actions. I want the forest to be here when I get older so I can take my kids hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and motorcycle riding.
Don't be afraid to remind an adult that they need to be responsible. It is going to take everyone being extremely careful and reminding anyone that goes into our forests that this is our home and we do not want it to burn down.
Austin D'Arcangelo, Payson