As I wrote in This forest doesn’t know it’s dead.
» Beloved river canyon in bull’s-eye | ABQ Journal by Thom Cole
But it’s been years since I’ve fished in the Pecos Canyon, in large part because of the crowds and the damage that has been caused to the canyon. Some people say we have loved the canyon to death, but I wouldn’t call it love.
Both the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Game and Fish manage recreation sites in the canyon, and a 2008 report prepared by the Forest Service painted a grim picture.
Among the problems cited by the report: too many vehicles, campgrounds in poor condition, violence, trash, alcohol abuse, rowdy campers, stream bank erosion and collapse, and off-road and even in-river vehicle use.
A couple years ago, I volunteered with schoolchildren and others to help pick up trash at Monastery Lake, and in and around the Terrero Campground. Lots of beer cans and bottles, a hypodermic needle, fishing line, toilet paper, human waste, clothes and more.
I visited Monastery Lake a few weeks after the cleanup, and it was if we had never been there. Just last spring, Forest Service sites that hadn’t opened yet were littered with trash and human waste.