Have you ever been hiking along one of our local trout streams and looked into the water and seen soda pop or beer cans staring back at you from the bottom of the streambed? Well, being a stream fisherman, this scenario happens almost every time I walk some of our pristine mountain waters. Actually, stream fishing is one of the reasons I moved to town in 1971 as a first year teacher fresh out of Northern Arizona University. Payson and the Rim Country was my destination for many a fishing trip with friends who are also still in the area, Mike Foree and Don Heizer. A lot of fishing trips have come and gone since then at Haigler, Horton, Tonto, Christopher, Canyon and the East Verde.
I guess as I get older there is a greater urgency for me to keep these areas litter free for the next generation of fishermen who wonder what it looks like around the next bend in the creek.
The point is, we can do something about the litter, which exists along these great trout streams in our Rim Country. On your next trip I encourage you to throw a plastic sack into your day pack and as you hike or fish, make the spots you walk better for the next outdoorsmen who will follow that same stretch of water.
A couple of springs ago I was between the first and second crossing of the East Verde and I saw Dave and Gigi Glow from Payson with a sack in one hand and a fishing rod in the other and I vividly remember Dr. Glow's comment. Before he fishes he spends some time picking up the cans that were left along the bank from the previous weekend. As an outdoorsman I appreciated his proactive concern on keeping our fishing waters litter free.
I know it is an ongoing problem, but we can make a difference -- one fisherman at a time.
Do your part, throw all your litter back into your daypack and if you see someone else's debris, spend a moment and make it a better place by picking it up. These trout waters in our backyard are just too valuable a resource to let litter destroy their beauty. As a sign on the Horton Creek trail says, "Pack it In. Pack it Out." We can make a difference, one fishing trip at a time. And today enjoy God's creation.