8/1/2012 6:00:00 AM Ranch cleanup draws a crowd - thankfully
DON MARTIN/Special to the Miner
This year’s Boquillas Ranch cleanup got a lot of support.
Troy Christensen of the Arizona Game and Fish Department presented a plaque of appreciation to Don Martin and the Mohave Sportsman Club to recognize 20 years of participation in the Boquillas Ranch cleanup.
For more than 20 years, the Mohave Sportsman Club has been hosting its annual Boquillas Ranch cleanup. This year more than 100 sportsmen and women from all over Arizona participated in the one-day project, according to Troy Christensen, Access Program Coordinator for the Arizona Game & Fish Department.
Showing appreciation to private landowners and showing respect for their property is the right thing to do. We are, after all, guests on their lands and it is a privilege to be allowed to recreate there.
I said that more than 20 years ago when, as president of the Mohave Sportsman Club, I first proposed that we start this cleanup project.
As the years have gone by, we have seen a drop in the participation of sportsmen around the state in this project.
I think it was mostly due to the "let the other guy do it" mentality that seems so prevalent in modern society.
If I remember correctly, about the best turnout we had was when Don Gadbaw was president of the MSC and did our first free cookout.
We had about 200 people in attendance, including several members of Hualapai Nation.
Over the past 10 years the number of volunteers dropped to a disappointing level where just about 25 people showed up.
Remember, there are more than 3,000 big game tags issued annually for Unit 10, and the Boquillas Ranch consists of about 750,000 acres of land, including about 500,000 that are private deeded lands owned by the Navajo Nation.
There is also about the same number of small game hunters, varmint hunters and prairie dog shooters who utilize the ranch to enjoy their particular outdoor recreational pursuits.
The good news is that this year, through the efforts of G&F and the MSC, the number of people who were at the sign-in just barely fit in a photo.
The AZ G&FD put the project information on its website and in one of its publications, "Arizona Wildlife Views."
The MSC paid to send out 500 postcards reminding hunters of the project to a group of select tag holders from Kingman, Seligman, Flagstaff, Prescott, Prescott Valley and all along the river communities.
We had information on the project on my weekly television show, "Back At Camp" on Channel 57, and one local radio station gave us some air time advising the public about the project.
According to Christensen, sportsmen and women from all the above-mentioned communities were represented at the project, along with folks from Phoenix and the surrounding metro areas and as far away as Lakeside and Tucson.
Those who did participate didn't find a lot of trash. That was to be expected. The Boquillas Ranch is the cleanest ranch in Arizona.
Some of the wildlife seen by participants included elk, deer, javelina, eagles, coyotes and even a bobcat.
This is the last year that I'll be in charge of organizing projects for the MSC like Antelope Eaters, Fishing For Smiles and the Boquillas Ranch cleanup.
I'm not seeking to be re-elected to the government liaison position for the club in 2013.
I do hope that someone out there is willing to step up and continue these important projects.
I appreciate all the sportsmen and women that have been part of these projects over the years and hope they will continue to participate in them so the youth in Arizona will have the opportunity to experience what we know as the great outdoors.