A Cowgal's Story: Respect & Responsibility

When my boys were young, we would usually go camping over long weekends. There was always a relaxed atmosphere up in the woods, but we taught them at a young age about respect for the land and responsibility while enjoying the great outdoors.

Humphreys Peak, north of Flagstaff, at sunset, June 2017. Photo by Sheila Carlson

Slow down:

Although you may not see the signs, there are speed limits set on all dirt roads, 25mph, unless posted otherwise. Right of way goes to the loaded driver or the person coming up the hill. This is passed down from the days when wagons hauled most of our goods.

Leave No Trace:

There never was and is not now any reason for garbage to be left at our camps. The boys would even pick up items left from those who had carelessly tossed their trash out.

It’s not a hard thing, it’s called RESPECT. Respect for nature, the outdoors, and even yourself.

We sadly call the summer season, the charmin flower time. Charmin, as in toilet paper, seems to "bloom up" along the roadsides. It’s not a pleasant thing to come upon and I personally don’t see any reason for it to be “growing” out there. To be blunt, my cat isn't smart but can still dig a hole to cover up her business. I've lived for months out with cattle with no indoor plumbing, and you couldn't and wouldn't see any “charmin blooms” in my area, either.

Duck Creek, Utah. Photo by Sheila Carlson

Be Responsible:

We taught our sons how to put out a campfire, with water and with shovels. I can’t tell you how many fires I've come across up on the mountain while checking cattle, with no one around. I’m not sure if it’s forgetfulness or they just don’t care. But with all the fires that rage across our country, it’s not something that’s taken lightly.

Be responsible and if you have a campfire, depending on fire restrictions, then put it out before you leave it. Even if you are planning on coming back, it’s better to be safe.

In the end it all comes down to having respect:

respect for the countryside, the folks who live, work and play in the area, and yourself.


Welcome to a new segment of Ground TruthA Cowgal's Story! This will be a monthly installment by Sheila Carlson, a 'cowgal' on the Flying M Ranch. Through her short reports, you will be able to learn more about ranching and ranchlife in our region. There will also be 'guest posts' by other cowfolks on the Flying M and Bar T Bar ranches.