In their element: Jeep enthusiast works to clean up local recreation areas

Hannah Grover The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Allen Elmore has always been involved in outdoor activities, but it wasn't until he was an adult that he got into Jeeps.

"I guess I just saw a Jeep and I liked it and got it," he said.

His interest in exploring trails and being outdoors led him to Chokecherry Canyon and membership in the Cliffhangers Four-Wheel Drive Club.

Elmore said his first trail was on a rock formation called the Anasazi Refrigerator.

"It's a pretty easy trail," he said.

Many Jeeps later, Elmore is still four-wheeling in Chokecherry Canyon. But he also has taken on a new mission.

"I don't like seeing trash out in our beautiful recreation areas," he said.

Elmore, who describes himself as a "doer," decided to start cleaning up the areas.

"I think we can all change the world around us," he said.

His hope is that by removing litter from the recreation areas people will no longer see them as a dumping ground.

In addition to organized cleanups, Elmore will sometimes head out into the canyon on his own or with his family to pick up trash.

"By going out constantly and cleaning up trash, we're trying to change the culture," he said.

In recent years, he said he has seen less trash collecting in the areas where he goes rock crawling.

"If you went out five years ago, you couldn't count the number of appliances on one hand," he said.

Now he says he might see one appliance on a mile-stretch of road.

While four-wheeling is one of his pastimes, Elmore has many outdoors hobbies including mountain biking, camping, fishing and, occasionally, hunting.

"I always call it my zen," he said of the outdoors.

The self-proclaimed social media addict will head outdoors for a weekend of camping with no cell phone or Internet access.

During that time, he isn't thinking about what is going on in the world.

"I think that's what people need to do sometimes," he said. "Sometimes it's important to unplug."

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.