Help Protect Our Forests

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Editor:

Our forests and the officials who have been assigned the tasks of maintaining and protecting these beautiful areas are in desperate need of our help.

All residents and non-residents of Rim Country need to be responsible for protecting our forests from the onslaught from those who visit our forests and think it is acceptable to leave their garbage and waste behind.

Many of these people think that the Forest Service’s job is to come and clean it up. Some even think that they are helping keep someone employed by picking up their garbage. Others just don’t care. They believe when they leave it’s no longer their problem.

The Forest Service, first off, is not a garbage collection company. Its primary goal is to manage our forests for our safe enjoyment.

Secondly, due to massive budgetary cuts, the Forest Service no longer has sufficient staff to patrol the large area covering Tonto and Pleasant Valley Ranger Districts.

We as residents and caring visitors of Rim Country need to help now more than ever. They need and want our help to be their eyes and ears in our beautiful forests. When you see campers, picnickers, or anyone else littering, dumping or with illegal campfires, the Forest Service needs and wants you to notify them or the sheriff’s office. They need you to get a location, vehicle license number, and a description of vehicles and/or people involved. One of the best ways to do this is with pictures.

They don’t want us to have personal confrontations with these violators. They just need the information in a very timely manner.

If you witness any of the above mentioned activities in our forests, please call the Tonto National Forest Payson Ranger District at (928) 474-7900 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.) or Gila County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 474-2208.

Remember, the forests belong to all of us, and it is our responsibility to help preserve and protect them. We can all help!

Richard Odom

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