Monday, August 8, 2011

Protecting Our Natural Resources

August 8, 2011 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

There are still some hidden natural treasures in the Superstition Wilderness Area that continue to defy being discovered by contemporary man. I strive to maintain the secrecy of some of these places for fear the gentle public will just trash these beautiful sites.

At one time the Superstition Wilderness Area was a large area of public land explored only by cattlemen and few prospectors and hunters. Today, it has become a haven of hiking trails for hikers of our modern society. Far more hikers explore these mountains today then 30 years ago. Some of the really beautiful areas I use to visit have become somewhat trashed because people do not carry out what they pack into this wilderness.

The most common trash I find these days are cans, bedding, camp gear, etc. Not too many years ago we packed seven packhorses full of trash out of the Reavis Ranch area and if we had had 10 more pack horses we could have used them also. Even some of the very remote area sin late spring where water is sometimes abundant from the spring-run off there are large piles of trash left behind by inconsiderate and ignorant people who help destroy this fragile environment we call the Superstition Wilderness Area. Any desert eco-system is very fragile to human impact.

Places like lower Peter’s Canyon with all of it pools of water in the spring is a beautiful place to visit. This is also of true of La Barge, Needle, and the Boulder Canyon systems.

Fish Creek and Rough Canyons are extremely rough but are spectacular in the spring with the Cottonwood’s leafing out and water flowing in the canyon. Another extremely unique area is Reavis Creek above Reavis Fall. This canyon is also spectacular with its Sycamores, Cottonwoods and Ponderosa pines.

All who enjoy the great outdoors can marvel at the beauty of these desert riparian canyons. These canyons place beauty in a completely different perspective. Many wonderful photographers chase these perfect settings to photograph for all eternity.

Recently I observed on Facebook one of the truly unique desert oasis and ecosystem in the Superstition Wilderness Area. As soon as others saw this beautiful place they wanted to know how to get there. Knowing the terrain and difficulty to get there I knew there would be folks who would hike in to the area, but wouldn’t carry out their trash. This has always been my fear of revealing these beautiful isolated riparian areas to the general public.

Again I recently visited an area where turf (tagging) signs were painted on the rocks with spray paint. This is another reason for keeping the ignorant and irresponsible out of these beautiful riparian areas.

This is enough said about preservation in the desert and other areas of Arizona. It is a full time job to keep our natural wonders policed from the irresponsible users. I would recommend everyone report anyone they see tagging and damage public property, and especially our natural resources.

Many evenings my wife and I walk out at Needle Vista View Point about eight miles northeast of Apache Junction. Sometime between 8 p.m. Friday, July 29, 2011, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2011, somebody “tagged” the Needle Vista View Point area.

We have often seen the guardrails along State Route 88 at Fish Creek Hill tagged with all kinds of personal graffiti.

Tagging with paint cans and markers is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in our area. The public needs to support law enforcement in an attempt to stop this irresponsible behavior that damages our public property and natural resources.

Not too long ago I listened to an adult defend taggers by saying “tagging has been around for thousands of years.” There is a big difference between taggers and the ancients who marked messages on rocks thousands of years ago.