Forest Service frustrated by garbage at backcountry hunting camps on Routt, White River national forests
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Toilet seats, propane bottles and wood stoves were among a few of the items removed recently from some remote backcountry hunting camps of the White River National Forest, south of Craig.
“I’m pretty sure seeing heaps of abandoned gear and trash is not the experience people want when visiting their National Forest.” said Ken Coffin, District Ranger on Blanco Ranger District in Meeker. “Unfortunately this is the sight that will greet visitors to many locations until we are able to find the responsible individuals and have them remove it or remove it ourselves. The latter option strains an already lean budget.”
Rangers recently spent three days removing abandoned property and trash from both the White River and Routt National Forests. It took a team of eight mules and horses to haul the garbage out. Unfortunately, there are several more camp sites in the Morapos Creek area that still require attention.
Some of abandoned property and trash is potentially hazardous. Rangers found tarps, gasoline and cooking utensils. While cleaning up the campsites, rangers also removed nails, chain and wire from several trees.
Jack Lewis, the Yampa District Ranger, is working with Coffin to increase Forest Service presence in the area this fall.
“This is a remote part of the Yampa Ranger District, and we will be working together with the Blanco Ranger District to increase our presence in the area during this hunting season.”
Forest officials remind forest visitors that constructing any kind of structure or abandoning personal property on national forest land are a violation of federal regulations. Depending on the severity of the infraction, offenders could face fines or a mandatory court appearance and be liable for the costs of reclaiming the site and removing debris.
“Obviously people recognize the value of this area for the healthy big game populations and it’s awesome that this chunk of public land provides such a resource to lots of people. All we ask of folks is that you pack out what you pack in, it’s that simple,” Coffin said.