Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Volunteers Put Forth "Monumental" Effort

SONORAN DESERT NATIONAL MONUMENT – Almost two dozen volunteers spent Saturday morning bagging, bucketing or dragging more than four tons of trash – enough to fill a 20-yard dumpster – from along the northern boundary of the Sonoran Desert National Monument near Gila Bend.

The cleanup project capped a sixth-month effort of the “Respected Access is Open Access in Arizona” campaign, created in 2009 by Tread Lightly!, a national organization that promotes responsible outdoor recreation. Partner organizations include the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service.

In the past six months, Tread Lightly! has engaged more than 1,000 volunteers in stewardship efforts around the greater Phoenix area. The result: More than 1,000 tons of trash have been removed from public lands to protect and enhance future access for outdoor recreational users.

“Showing up on a Saturday morning for a few hours to clean up is a huge step in a positive direction,” said Dianne Olson, assistant director of Tread Lightly! “Our public lands belong to all of us, and it is up to us to be proactive in not only cleaning up, but setting the example for others on what responsible use looks like.

“Volunteers today are taking the ‘ACT’ pledge to heart – Be ‘Accountable,’ ‘Clean’ up, and ‘Tread Lightly.’ “

For more information about Tread Lightly!, visit http://www.treadlightly.org.


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