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EVENT, JUNE 23, 2012

Report July 26, 2012 | PDF version HERE

This event was conducted as part of the Oak Creek Community Outreach Program (OCCOP) and its purpose was to pick up trash and litter from three sites – each one mile (approximate) segments of Oak Creek, as well as promote proper stewardship of Oak Creek. 

The original proposal included six sites and two events in the spring and late summer of 2012 as a pilot program to be closely reviewed with the goal of expanding it in 2013 and beyond.The availability of volunteers and adjusted time schedule of completing the Oak Creek Watershed Improvement Plan (OCWIP) influenced the practicality aspect, and a single event with three sites was decided upon.

After discussion with U.S. Forest Service and Arizona Game & Fish staff and WIC members, several sites were recommended for the event including Mormon Crossing (left) Chavez Crossing (right) and the area between Midgley Bridge and Grasshopper Point Grasshopper parking lot

A fourth location just across from Encinoso picnic area in Oak Creek Canyon was also proposed if there was an excess of volunteers. (There wasn’t).

Meetings were held with Forest Service personnel regarding working on federal land and appropriate permission documents were signed along with instructions for steps to take in the event of injury.

Enough equipment and supplies were purchased to field 35 - 40 volunteers with a view to future events where more sites might be included. Promotion of the event was made through a news release to the OCWC media pool of 30 journalists and broadcasting entities. A request for volunteers was alsosent to all other environmental groups in the Verde Watershed as well as the membership of the Oak Creek Watershed Council and its Stakeholder Coalition Roster.

All promotional materials for the event included suggestions for appropriate clothing, protocols to follow during the event as well as safety points. 

A reconnaissance team of two visited each area in the week prior to the event and reported back with recommendations as to parking, trash observations, gave directions to the sites and photographs. The day before the event the project coordinator and assistant visited each site and took numerous photographs and made last minute changes to the event plan.

Twenty volunteers met at the Safeway parking lot on S.R. 89A in west Sedona at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, June 23, 2012. It was a sunny and hot day. Volunteer Agreements were collected; teams and leaders organized; safety points reiterated; a USFS authorization sheet distributed to each team along with directions to each site as well as laminated USFS injury instructions. Cell phone numbers were also exchanged with team leaders and equipment distributed.

Mormon Crossing had a team of two. Chavez Crossing, a team of seven. Midgley area, a team of two. Grasshopper Point, a team of seven. Red Rock Review photo journalist, Tom Hood, covered Chavez and Sedona.biz video journalist, Steve DeVol covered Grasshopper and an impromptu interview with Barry Allan can be viewed at http://oakcreekwatershed.org

The project coordinator and assistant travelled between Chavez and Grasshopper, and spoke with journalists and recreators.

With the exception of the Mormon Crossing team who had personal business in Cornville afterwards, all other volunteers met back at the Safeway parking lot around noon. Equipment was returned and reports/recommendations given by team leaders.

Results: 11 bags (45 gallon) of assorted trash –diapers, feces, paper, (below) glass etc. –200 lbs

Mormon Crossing: 2 bags (45 gallon) –-50 lbs 

Chavez Crossing: 4 bags (45 gallon) trash; 3 bags recycled and 1 chair --105 lbs. (Dog feces left in Chavez parking lot) >>>>>>>>

Grasshopper Point: Several smaller bags of trash compressed into 2 bags (45 gallon) –45 lbs

Note: Mormon and Chavez Crossings have no trash receptacles while Grasshopper is a day use area with 2 large trash receptacles, a recycled container and bathrooms managed by Recreation Resource Management. 

A follow-up reconnaissance of Grasshopper Point area was made on Monday, June 25, 2012 by the project coordinator and assistant. Trash was observed around the parking lot again.

Recommendations

  1. June is too hot and April to May as well as September to October would be better.
  2. Creek Ambassadors would help to promote trash and litter protocols in all areas by verbally promoting, giving out literature and litter bags.
  3. There were so many cigarette butts found that a special protocol addressing this problem is recommended to the OCCOP task force. (both photos on right) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
  4. Buckets are needed to collect sharp pointed trash & glass
  5. More vehicles to pick up trash bags and dump them off site.
  6. Trash receptacles and signage needed at Chavez and Mormon Crossings including reference to dogs on leash and picking up dog feces or No Dogs Allowed.
  7. Signage needed at Grasshopper
  8. Recommended that RRM staff in booth at Grasshopper entrance remind recreators to deposit trash into receptacles and use bathrooms. Also would be beneficial to distribute literature to vehicle driver.
  9. At a minimum, dog waste stations are recommended for Chavez and Mormon Crossings.

Observations

The signage at Mormon Crossing (left) makes no mention of litter, trash, feces, diapers, dogs. The dog (right) was let out of the car at Chavez and immediately did his business after running around the parking lot. The feces were picked up after an amiable chat with the owners and the dog was leashed. The dog was later seen running loose by Oak Creek.There was no place to leave the feces and the owners did not take the bundle with them. (see photo at top right of previous page). There are no signs at Chavez Crossing parking lot. “No dogs allowed” signs or dog waste stations are highly recommended.

Grasshopper Point signs were numerous but none specifically refer to littering. People do use the two large containers by the bathrooms but there was still litter and trash scattered around the area. There doesn’t seem to be any care on the part of some recreators to pack out their litter etc. and no authority to help remind them. 

Bear scat was found outside parking lot area.

<<<<<< Post already installed (no sign) could be put to good use.Litter (below) was 50 feet from a container at Grasshopper Point parking lot.

Conclusions

Mormon and Chavez Crossings are in desperate need of litter containers, signage, and as well as new rules prohibiting dogs or at the very least dogs to be leashed. Dog waste stations are also needed. We observed a lot of young people at all areas and while some practice “leave no trace”ethics, others do not seem to be so instinctively inclined. Removal of feces in these areas should be a priority due to the threat of pollution to Oak Creek. Grasshopper Point area has a severe litter problem and needs better signage and enforcement.

We recommend further consultations with the Red Rock Ranger District staff to discuss BMPs that will alleviate these situations including but not limited to signage, trash containers, dog waste stations, bathroom facilities and development of the Oak Creek Ambassador Program.We further recommend the continuation of the Keep Oak Creek Beautiful cleanup program.

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