Written by #HBFCrew Jason Cleghorn
Y’all… I’m mad. Every day, another picture like this, another story about graffiti in our National Parks, another person or people that seemingly don’t care about the wild. And I am damn tired of it. The hardest part for me is rectifying how I can be so different from another human, that I would be concerned for dropping an orange peel out of my pack, but they think nothing of throwing diapers on the ground. When I don’t like disturbing rocks, but they think its OK to scrawl their name into geological formations. When I enjoy the quiet of nature, but they carry a *&^ damn boom box on a trail. When I take close up pictures of flowers, but they run over them in a choking exhaust fumed ATV and laugh.
The only solace that I can muster, is that I simply don’t know or associate with anyone that DOES these things. But you might. And this is where my post will ruffle some feathers. We (all of us) simply must start calling these people out. Confront them (safely, people have guns), call Park Rangers. Call the USFS. Call Park Stewards. And do it every time. I’ve been just as guilty, before. While I haven’t looked the other way, my silence has enabled these users of the land and led them to believe that their actions, or inactions are OK. It’s time to forget about any concept of ‘snitching’ and expose these people for what they are. Losers and users.
I’m ashamed to admit that I originally thought that my friends over at Modern Hiker and their coverage of the Casey Nocket saga and the Andre endeavor was over the top. I’m here to tell all of you, that it wasn’t. Their coverage led to direct negative impacts to the perpetrators of these environmental crimes and after some time to get mad enough about it, I’m here to tell you their coverage was completely warranted.
I realize its easy to be cynical and to assume that these users are going to get collective slaps on the wrist. And sadly, the eyes of the law are lenient on environmental crimes. But people, we have to do SOMETHING. We have to be active on this issue, and not reactive. I am eternally thankful to folks like@bananabuzzbomb and others that have made trash pickup an integral part of their hikes and outdoor experiences. But while I remain indebted to them, I wonder if we’re enabling those that would do the wild harm. Now, obviously 90% of the time, we’re not seeing these dastardly deeds. But my point is that when you do, and you deem it safe, say something. Every time. All the time.
Recently my friends @wannabeadventurer and @justericahair confronted someone at Fossil Creek over a carving and they ignored them. She documented the bad actor’s deeds within a FB group we belong to. Sadly, some called her out and indicated what she did was wrong. Pardon my language, but…bullshit. This is the same scenario that has allowed these people courage and license to do these things, because they’ve always felt anonymously protected.
Now I’m no Edward Abbey. I don’t advocate ‘monkey wrench gang’ type of justice or vigilantism. I believe in the order of law and that society has rules. But going forward, when I see environmental issues, like my friends have lately, I’m going to call them out.
Jason Cleghorn | AZ Day Hiker | @jasoncleghorn