01 Mar Table Mesa Clean Up
PHOENIX- On March 1, nearly 250 volunteers braved the rain to help pick up more than 10 tons of trash detracting from the beauty of the popular Table Mesa Recreation Area north of Phoenix. The cleanup project is part of a larger effort to take care of public lands in Arizona by promoting outdoor ethics. The initiative – Respected Access is Open Access in Arizona – is supported by a coalition of partners including the Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish Department, US Forest Service and Tread Lightly!, a national nonprofit organization that promotes responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship programs.
“We had an outstanding turnout, especially considering the rain,” said Tom Bickauskas, Natural Resource Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management. “It’s a tremendous showing of support for our public lands. Stewardship is everyone’s job.”
The volunteers were shooting, hunting and off-highway vehicle enthusiasts and many were affiliated with Discount Tire stores in the Phoenix area.
“We are out here because we care,” said Mark MacGuinness, Vice President of Discount Tire Direct. “We’re enthusiasts, we’re off-roaders, we’re shooters, we’re hunters, we’re fishermen and we care about our access to the outdoors. We care about our public lands. We don’t just donate money, we show up!”
Outdoor billboards, public service announcements, and outreach and education efforts are spreading the important message that Respected Access is Open Access in Arizona.
“The momentum is continuing to build and we’re thrilled at the involvement of supporters like Discount Tire and so many responsible outdoor recreationists,” said Lori McCullough, executive director of Tread Lightly!. “Engaging the recreational shooting community in addressing these issues is the proactive solution to these problems and we hope all recreational shooters will become ambassadors for this effort.”
Another way that Arizona citizens can get involved in the campaign is to take the pledge to ACT responsibly. Go online to openaccessarizona.org and pledge to be a responsible recreationist and sign up for a chance to win a prize. The pledge asks people to be Accountable for their behaviors, Clean up after themselves and Tread Lightly on public lands. Those who pledge will have a chance to win a $100 gift card from a sporting goods store. One winner per month will be drawn.
View BLM produced video about the cleanup: https://bit.ly/18jWqZn
Sponsors of the Table Mesa cleanup event include local, regional and national organizations:
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Bureau of Land Management
Arizona Off Highway Vehicle Coalition and Arizona State Parks
Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
Bass Pro Shops
Boone and Crockett Club
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
National Rifle Association
National Shooting Sports Foundation
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Safari Club International
Wildlife for Tomorrow
Tread Lightly! is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a national nonprofit organization in October 2015. Founded in 1990 as a Memorandum as Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, Tread Lightly! promotes responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship programs.
Tread Lightly! has more than 70 official partners from various industries and is likely the nation’s only nonprofit holding MOUs with every state and federal agency in the U.S. Tread Lightly!’s diverse member base enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities including hunting, angling, camping, boating, biking, four-wheeling and much more. Become a Tread Lightly! partner or member today and start supporting access, education and stewardship at www.treadlightly.org.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.
Arizona Game and Fish Department’s mission is to conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manager 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 work in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies, private landowners, sovereign tribes, nongovernmental organizations, and other state and nations. For more information on the Department, visit www.azgfd.gov.