As the integration of Colorado State Parks gets underway more locations are likely to fall under the “Pack Your Trash” management style. This is nothing new in Colorado and means the removal of trash receptacles along with the costly upkeep at certain outdoor locations. The visiting public will be expected to do their part or ultimately lose access to the wildlife area.
(Above: As you can tell, this sign has been around for a long time. Most adhere to the low budget solution but a small percentage couldn’t care less and still cause damage to natural habitat. That small percentage is a large part of the problem.)
We see these signs currently in many remote areas were it isn’t feasible to maintain routine trash pick up. Trash cans also tempt scavengers such as raccoons, bears, ravens and even squirrels into developing bad habits. These creatures simply empty the contents back onto the ground anyway when given the chance. It makes sense in a lot of wildlife areas to remove the trashcans for many reasons. There is only one catch…the public has to cooperate.
Some locations during this handover will be given one chance and one chance only to become more in line with budget needs. If the public does not cooperate, these places will be shut down temporarily or altogether. We have lost fishing spots due to poor behavior even in the best of budget years. Now management will have more of an itchy trigger finger to shoot down public access and the cost that goes with it if all they see is trouble. Access to these locations is literally in the hands of the public and many of these areas are hanging by a thread right now. Lack of cooperation and excessive littering will be the deathblow.
More cost cutting measures undoubtedly will be on the table. Some jobs will be cut and some places will be closed. Maybe they will return in better economic times but for now my mode is going into “brace for impact” in regards to Colorado’s natural areas.
In closing I urge that we all cooperate with the “Pack Your Trash” signs along with being more vigilant about litter in our wildlife areas. Packing out your own trash is a common philosophy shared by most Colorado outdoor recreationalists and in a lot of areas you simply have no other alternative. The majority of the recreational public in Colorado is very respectful. In most cases it is a very small few that have little or no regard for rules, signage or other people’s outdoor experience. The majority can compensate by zero tolerance and picking up what others leave behind. Future visits may depend on it.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.