For the past three years, I have been assigned to the Ranger Unit of the Salt River Police Department. The outdoors has always been part of my life, and I have been blessed with the opportunities to camp, fish and hike throughout the Southwest.
My appreciation and gratitude for the outdoors began with my first campouts with my dad and grandfather, as they would continually show and instruct me with words of wisdom, such as, “You always leave your area cleaner than when you found it” and “You brought it in, you take it out.” Now I am also a father, and I find myself continually passing on the same valuable principles to not only my own children, but all the people of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
As a Ranger, I enjoy being outdoors and assisting this Community with preserving and conserving its natural resources. With every patrol I conduct, I locate new areas that require protection from individuals who wish to harm or dishonor them. I make every attempt to stay up to date on the federal, tribal and state statutes to help enforce the laws and keep our Community’s environment safe and preserved.
I request all Community members who enjoy the outdoors, whether it is to fish, hunt, camp, swim or boat, to remember to “Leave your area cleaner than when you found it” and “You brought it in, you take it out.” The Rangers always make sure that, when we go into our Community’s landscape to track or patrol, we are highly conscientious about what we are doing to the environment. My goal every time I go out is to leave only vehicle tracks on the already traveled areas. As I undertake various foot patrols in the rural areas of the Community, I ensure nothing unnatural is left behind. My first objective as a Ranger is to reinforce the dream of preserving the land for the future generations of the Pima and Maricopa people.
Now in late October, the daytime temperatures are still warm, with cool mornings and early evening hours. I encourage you to get out and visit your Community as I have. The wild horses are looking great thanks to Brian Gewecke, senior environmental specialist, and the Community’s Environmental Protection and Natural Resources (EPNR) Range Management. The horses can be seen from several areas in the Community, such as Mesa Drive, Rousseau Farms on Stapley, and anywhere on the canal banks to the river area and at the river.
Wildlife is flourishing out on our Community’s land, from the smallest rabbit to the largest javelina. The Rangers also continually see signs of deer as we patrol the very outermost areas, as well as all species of birds, animals and plants native to this part of Arizona in the Community.
We are entering the time of year when our bald eagle population returns to the Community, and one or maybe two of our bald eagles are back. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is aware of this, along with EPNR. We still need to keep our distance and respect their territory, so they will continue to nest inside our Community.
As I grow into my role as a Ranger Officer, I will make every attempt to be mindful of the legacy I wish to leave behind, which is to honor your traditions and beliefs by protecting the land of your forefathers. Thank you for allowing me to serve you and protect this land of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.