On Saturday, December 7, Arizona’s recreational shooting community took time out of their weekend to spend the morning maintaining a popular public land shooting site near Maricopa. As part of a larger effort to promote good public land stewardship, the clean-up event provided those who depend on access to the BLM-managed Box Canyon area for target shooting and other activities with the opportunity to remove trash and litter left behind by some who recreate at the heavily-used site.
Approximately 100 volunteers from throughout the Phoenix metro area arrived bright and early on Saturday with trash bags, work gloves and a desire to make sure that Box Canyon and other areas like it remain open for years to come.
Forest Service, BLM and other federal lands provide critical access for outdoor recreation, including recreational shooting. Making sure that the federal agencies responsible for managing these areas know that the outdoor recreationists who use them are willing to put in the time and effort to maintain popular sites is critical to ensuring that they remain open and accessible to target shooters and the public in the future.
After attending the event, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Western States Manager Andy Treharne said, “These volunteers highlight the commitment that sportsmen and women have to maintaining our public lands. Outdoor recreation of all types has an impact on areas like Box Canyon. The folks who came out today show that Arizona recreational shooters are willing to walk-the-walk when it comes to doing what’s necessary to keep popular target shooting sites open and accessible in the future.”
CSF and other members of the sportsmen’s community are doing their part to highlight the importance of public land access and the stewardship of those with a stake in maintaining this access. As a member of the Federal Lands Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Sports Roundtable, CSF joined others in requesting that Tread Lightly! develop the Respected Access is Open Access education and outreach campaign.
This effort is designed to protect and enhance public land access by highlighting outdoor recreationists’ commitment to their most treasured places while also targeting explicit behaviors and fostering a sense of individual stewardship throughout the community.
The event was sponsored by Tread Lightly!, CSF, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the Public Lands Foundation, the Bureau of Land Management, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Safari Club International.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?