On September 18 2004,
I took my girlfriend and her kids on an outing into the hills. I enjoy my trips
into the hills, and especially enjoy being able to educate children about the outdoors.
After enjoying a few hours of hiking and a picnic lunch, we decided to take Victoria Lake Road from Highway 385 to Sheridan Lake Road. I
have not taken this road in about twenty-five years, but I can remember taking this road in the early fall as a child. It was always a nice quiet drive, and we would see a variety of wildlife, and the
fall colors where spectacular. This place was not the same as I remember growing
up. Many things have changed which I will convey through this writing. These changes, caused by people, are an environmental injustice.
We need to protect our environment by learning to be considerate in the outdoors.
Consideration means concern, reflection, and selflessness.
parked at Victoria Lake
overlook. When taking our trips as a child, this was one of my favorite places. As we got out of the vehicle, we could hear the blasts of people shooting their guns
at one of the popular shooting areas. We walked to the edge to enjoy the view. There was litter everywhere. We saw empty
beverage containers, an old fire pit, home appliances, cigarette butts, and paper. As
we stood at the edge of the cliffs, a group of about six riders on all terrain vehicles, (ATV’s) sped down into the
canyon, roared through the bottom, and raced out the other side.
should be concerned about the impacts we make when we are outdoors. I am not
anti-gun, and I am not against the use of ATV’s for recreation. I am against
pollution and degradation of our environment. Wildcat shooting is the discharge of a firearm in an undeveloped area. Where there is wildcat shooting, there is the possibility of accidental shootings, property damage, noise
pollution, lead contamination, and litter. We had not seen any wildlife as we drove to the overlook. I
wondered why? (Anderson J.)
“Increased use of national forests including use
by OHV’s has the potential to create impacts to resources. The remarkable growth rate of OHV use is of particular
concern with respect to: Disrupting wildlife and damage to wildlife habitat.”
I do not remember all the litter when I was younger. According to the
Bureau of Land Management's Education Department and the National Outdoor Leadership School; “it takes paper:
2-4 weeks, a cigarette butt: 2-5 years, aluminum can: 200-400 years, and glass bottles: lots and lots of years”, for
these items to degrade.
reflect on the changes I noticed most on my recent outing. Starting with the
wildcat shooting. (NRA) “Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.” I believe that
this rule means more then be careful not to shoot anything on accident. One consideration
that should be reflected on by the shooter is the full impact of the shot. I
believe that target shooting, random plinking, and other recreational shooting should be allowed only in designated areas. Shooting areas should be controlled for safety.
Impacts to the surrounding area should be investigated. I believe that
selected areas would eliminate much of the pollution associated with primitive shooting areas.
(McGee, J.) “Lead,
arsenic, antimony, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from the existing target range may be affecting the physiology
of plants, lichen, quail, and other wildlife.” and (McGee, J.) “The sound of gunfire may be adversely affecting wildlife by disrupting their normal behavior.” From my viewpoint, my recreation time I tried to spend in a tranquil, natural setting
is hampered by the sound of gunfire coming from this shooting area.
second change I noticed to this area is the use of ATV’s on renegade trails. As
we drove up the road to the overlook, we saw numerous trails from ATV’s crossing the road and going every direction
through the trees. These extra trails lead to erosion and causes damage to vegetation. (Carbone C.) A change in the amount of activity near her home is, “Estimated a 25-30 percent increase in the number
of “renegade trails.” Educating the public on what areas are appropriate
for OHV use is critical in minimizing the impact. Like the shooting areas, there
could be areas designated for renegade riders who like to rip, roar, and race. There
are many open roads that could be used by those riders who enjoy casual trail riding.
and not at all the least important, is the litter. One of my favorite outdoor
sayings is, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time.” When reflecting on the litter issue, we should remember that our actions have a great impact on the environment. Leaving something as simple as a plastic six-pack ring on the ground could easily
kill a fish, bird, or another animal. One cigarette butt will start a fire that
could burn hundreds or even thousands of acres. Glass and aluminum take hundreds
of years to degrade.
Bear L.) "But the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect
for growing, living things soon lead to a lack of respect for humans too." When
we are outdoors, no matter where we are or what we are doing, we should reflect on seeing beyond ourselves. We need to educate ourselves and our families and our friends about the consequences of our selfish behaviors
and the injustices we lay on our environment. (Brovsky S.) “Given the imbalanced state of the environment, the time has come for a new perception of
the earth, one that takes into account creatures and things other than ourselves.”
We should be concerned about the areas we visit, leaving it as a reflection of who we are, remembering that we are
not the only thing that matters.
Anderson J. 2003. Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Deis) For Cross-Country Travel By OHV’s. Ch.3 P.11
NRA. 2004. Education & Training Programs: NRA Gun
Safety Rules. http://www.nrahq.org/education/guide.asp
Carbone C. 2004.
National Forest Advisory Board Meeting: Minutes, August 18, 2004.
McGee, J. 1998. Environmental Assessment: Sabino Canyon Target Range The Santa Catalina
Ranger District Coronado National Forest. 126.96.36.199-7.
Standing Bear, L. 1978. Land of the Spotted Eagle. University of Nebraska
Press. Lincoln, Nebraska
BLM. 1998. Teaching Leave No Trace: Principle
#3: Pack it in, Pack it out. http://www-a.blm.gov/education/lnt/background/packing.htm
Brovsky, S. 1991.
I Am Sending a Voice http://www.wildway.org/voice_contents.php
Sensitive Bog to get Protection from ATVs. Rapid City Journal. Local 2004.News. B,1.