EL PASO COUNTY — Taking advantage of the beautiful nature Colorado has to offer comes with a great responsibility: leave nature the way you found it. And one group is hoping their work cleaning up for people who haven’t met that responsibility will serve as an example.
“It’s crazy how much of this stuff there is,” Justin Frey said. “There’s so much random stuff.”
For every piece of garbage he picks up, Frey can’t understand what makes a small picturesque spot of national forest land off Old Stage road more convenient than a garbage can for some people.
“There’s gotta be a dumpster you can poach a lot closer than here,” Frey said.
The spot, isolated between Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek, is trashed. The area is popular with sport shooters. But it’s not just shell casings and ammo boxes cluttering the scenery.
“People are bringing actual trash up here,” Frey said. “It’s not just stuff to shoot at, it’s like actual trash.”
If the past is any example, it’s taught him--he is the example.
“Just like anything in history… you abuse it and it goes away,” he said. “Somebody’s gotta look after it.”
That’s why he and 16 other members of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) made the bumpy trek up Old Stage Road Sunday morning.
“This is not the prettiest sight if someone’s new to Colorado Springs or Colorado,” BHA leader Drew Trujillo said.
They’re setting the example.
“We’re gonna get a lot of traffic,” Trujillo said. “People are gonna drive by us and see us and see what we’re doing today.”
And they’re setting the precedent that this should be the last time they have to do this.
“If everybody who came up here to use this just took out what they brought in, plus a little more, this place would be spotless,” Frey said.
It’s not always pretty.
“I would say the amount of diapers that we’ve been finding has been… odd,” Trujillo said.
But they do it for that one thing.
“Hopefully set an example so the next time people show up to shoot are like, ‘oh, it’s not a trash pit anymore, maybe we should take our stuff with us,’” Frey said.