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Trashing nature’s playground should carry heavy fines
Written by Trista Steers MacVittie   
Thursday, 20 September 2012 15:34

If I could spend every moment in the outdoors, I would.

Whether it’s recreating or simply relaxing and enjoying the sounds of nature, I prefer not to be bound by walls.

Larson Newspapers Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieI spend my mornings, evenings and weekends on the trail, water or in the forest.

I trail run with friends, and mountain bike, hike, kayak and camp with my family.

The stress of the world disappears as soon as I lose sight of civilization, calming my mind and relaxing my body.

Unfortunately, my haven is being attacked by those who don’t feel as I do about nature and I’m guessing don’t spend much time outside.

Every time I venture out and feel I’ve escaped, something completely out of place brings me back — a discarded beer can, fast food bag or heaps of trash.

We’ve recently reported on two dump sites found on U.S. Forest Service land. Both consisted of heaping piles of construction material.

It’s easier to dump old roof shingles or boards for free in the forest than it is to haul it to a dump and pay for disposal.

Obviously, not all contractors participate in this shady practice, and it’s not just the construction industry creating the problem.

I personally found a dump site off Bill Grey Road near Cottonwood.

Strategically tucked behind a small rolling hill, this personal dump is now a blight on the forest. Not only did the site boast old boards and your everyday kitchen garbage items, but an upside down Power Wheels children’s vehicle sat in the middle.

There is no doubt we have a problem on our hands, and a slap on the wrist isn’t enough to keep people from dumping.

USFS found out who created the first dump site we reported on after our article published, and the contractor cleaned up the mess. USFS expected the company wouldn’t receive much punishment since it retrieved the material.

I say that’s not good enough.

Would the company have cleaned up if the site wasn’t discovered right away and didn’t appear in our newspaper? I highly doubt it.

If we’re going to curb this behavior, much harsher punishment needs to be doled out. Let’s start with fines — big fines — and give other residents rewards for reporting dumpers. USFS can’t keep watch around the clock, but the rest of us can help.

If fines don’t get the message across, how about revoking contracting or business licenses if it is a company? For individuals, put them on trash detail in the forest for a few months.

 

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