28 Oct Outdoor Ethics Campaign Seeks to Ensure Recreational Shooting Access to Public Lands
PHOENIX– A coalition of partners has unveiled a comprehensive education, outreach and engagement initiative that promotes responsible practices while recreational shooting on public lands across Arizona. The campaign took shape because of ongoing problems with irresponsible shooting practices. Trigger trash, illegal dumping and vandalism, such as shooting up saguaro cactus, have led to the closure of an increasing number of public lands locations around Phoenix to recreational shooting.
The Respected Access is Open Access in Arizona initiative is being supported by a coalition of partners including the Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish Commission, the US Forest Service and Tread Lightly!, a national non-profit organization that promotes responsible outdoor recreation through education and stewardship programs. Outdoor retailers and community organizations are also involved.
“Engaging the recreational shooting community in addressing these issues is the proactive solution to these problems,” said Lori McCullough, executive director of Tread Lightly! “We’re committed to working with all of our partners to spread the message that outdoor ethics and education can minimize the impacts on natural and cultural resources and could ensure the availability of Arizona’s public lands for recreational shooting in years to come.”
Beginning in late October and running through March 2015, Tread Lightly! and partners will launch an outreach campaign that will spread the message of responsible recreational shooting. The campaign will include outdoor advertising and public service announcements as well as media and community outreach. There will be a presence at upcoming gun shows in the Phoenix area and a series of recreational shooting site volunteer cleanup projects has been scheduled.
“We are pleased to be a partner in this effort to promote responsible shooting practices on public land,” said Mary D’Aversa, manager of the Phoenix District Office Bureau of Land Management. “We are responsible for 2.4 million surface acres in Arizona and we recognize how citizens value access for the recreational activities they enjoy. We encourage all recreational shooters to get involved in the Respected Access is Open Access in Arizona effort by taking part in upcoming events and helping to spread the word about appropriate recreational shooting habits to shooting friends and partners.”
The goals of the campaign are to provide safe recreational shooting opportunities on public land, reduce the amount of litter on the landscape, reduce natural resource and property damage and build support from the shooting community to become ambassadors for promoting responsible recreation and to increase their stewardship activities.
“A broad community of stakeholders is taking ownership of these shooting sites and committing to ongoing efforts to keep areas clean so that these public lands will remain open to recreational shooters into the future,” said Larry D. Voyles, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “We join our partners in helping to spread the word about the importance of recreational shooting on public lands and the need for all of us to be good stewards of our natural resources.”
There are several different ways that Arizona citizens can get involved in this effort:
• Take the pledge to ACT responsibly. Go online to openaccessarizona.org and pledge to be a responsible shooter and sign up for a chance of winning a prize. The pledge asks people to be Accountable for their shooting behaviors, Clean up after themselves and Tread Lightly on public lands. Those who pledge will have a chance to win a $100 gift card to Sportsman’s Warehouse. One winner per month will be drawn.
• Visit the Respected Access is Open Access in Arizona booth at the following shows:
- Crossroads Gun Show December 5-7, 2014 (Phoenix)
- Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo on March 28-29, 2015
• Participate in several organized clean-ups in the coming months:
- November 1, 2014 – Four Peaks cleanup at the Tonto National Forest
- December 13, 2014 – Box Canyon cleanup in Maricopa County
- March 1, 2015 – Table Mesa cleanup
Tread Lightly! is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible recreation
through ethics education and stewardship programs. Tread Lightly!’s educational message, along
with its unique training and restoration initiatives are strategically designed to instill an ethic of
responsibility in outdoor enthusiasts and the industries that serve them. The program is long-term
in scope with a goal to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation with our
need to maintain a healthy environment. Tread Lightly!’s award-winning materials, programs and
services are solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing recreation issues. Individuals and
businesses can commit to Tread Lightly! and protect outdoor access by becoming a member at
BLM Arizona administers 12.2 million surface acres of public lands, and another 17.5 million
subsurface acres within the state. With offices throughout the state providing on-the-ground field
management, BLM balances recreational, commercial, scientific and cultural interests; striving for
long-term protection of renewable and nonrenewable resources, including range, timber, minerals,
recreation, watershed, fish and wildlife, wilderness, wild horses and burros, and natural, scenic,
scientific and cultural values.
Arizona Game and Fish Department’s mission is to conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources
and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future
generations. Guided by a five-member commission and a director, the Department implements
rules/policies and takes actions to conserve and manage wildlife; promotes safe, responsible
engagement in outdoor activities such as hunting, shooting sports, fishing, boating, off-highway vehicle
recreation, and wildlife viewing; enforces laws that protect wildlife, public health and safety; provides
information and safety education programs; and works in cooperation with federal, state and local
agencies, private landowners, sovereign tribes, nongovernmental organizations, and other states and
nations. For more information on the Department, visit www.azgfd.gov.
Media Contact: Dianne Olson, 801-828-7741 X 13, firstname.lastname@example.org