January 25, 2014
My girlfriend and I decided to go shooting on a sunny Saturday afternoon. We had been blessed with some nice weather for Northern Utah in January and decided to go into the mountains to a local shooting area and have some fun. I grabbed all our gear, threw it in the Jeep and we started on our way.
Liz is not from Utah and has only been here a short time. The entire ride she talked about how beautiful it is here and how lucky we are to be able to enjoy such stunning views. I sometimes forget how much the mountains can affect someone and how easily the people that live here take for granted the beauty and fragility of these wild places.
As we neared our destination I showed Liz some of the places my father and I would hike in search of Chuckers or the section of the river that we would fish in the spring. In the middle of our conversation about the awesomeness of the mountains we turned a corner and there it was! The area I had planned to shoot in was a complete disaster. Shell casings littered the ground, shotgun shells stood upside down in the snow and old targets riddled the hillside.
It’s not like I haven’t seen a messy shooting area before, but the contrast of seemingly pristine habitat to local dump was a lot for me to take in. Liz and I spent the next couple hours picking up all sorts of trash from broken glass to shot up sheet metal and a lot of shells. I love to shoot, I love to hunt, I love to have these opportunities on public lands, but I’m afraid that if more people don’t do their part to make sure these areas stay clean we will lost them forever. In the end, we did what we could to leave the area better than we found it and even got to send a few shots down range ourselves.
If you know of areas that are in need of restoration or clean-ups please visit Tread Lightly!’s grant program, called “Clean ups by Quadratec.” Let Tread Lightly! help you make a difference in the places you love to ride, shoot, hunt or fish. The next grant deadline ends March 1st. Please apply and remember Respected Access is Open Access.