Be Pro-Active In Keeping Forests Clean

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Editor:

Congratulations to the fine people who have taken the time to help clean up our forests. You are a credit to our community!

But now is the time to become pro-active instead of re-active. How? On Memorial Day weekend 1996, my wife said she was bored and wanted to take a ride. A few months earlier, she had fallen down a flight of stairs, breaking her back and severely injuring her neck. Net results — she was confined to a wheelchair.

Being born and raised in Mesa, she had heard of the problem with polluters. We had decided to drive down the Control Road. We had driven about five to six miles and noticed several campsites where there were several campfires (fire restrictions were not in place at that time, though should have been) and trash strewn about everywhere. She said to take her back home to get her camera.

Upon returning, she started to photograph all the campsites very discreetly getting license plate numbers, people descriptions and the mileage from my truck. On Monday afternoon, we went back to the same locations and re-photographed the same spots — in addition to me putting out four or five abandoned fires and picking up eight bags of debris. After the film was developed she sent the photos to the Tonto (National Forest headquarters) in Phoenix.

In late September we received a letter from the Forest Service thanking us for the fire suppression and cleanup — and a check for $300 dollars. Wow! I still, on occasion, drive Fossil Creek Road and the 428 Road looking for violators, calling in when I find them. I do not confront them as they are more than likely to be drunk, high on drugs or both. Let law enforcement take the action necessary.

Yes, the Forest Service does need our help. They just don’t have the manpower. We do. We all know about the real bad areas, so instead of once a year, do the pre-cleanup by catching the perpetrators red-handed. It will work!

Dave Leland Sr.

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