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Coconino National Forest says visitors are trashing campgrounds

Posted at 12:21 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 22:53:59-04

The Coconino County National Forest says Forest Service workers are constantly finding piles of garbage bags stacked up on the side of roads and around campgrounds.

Coconino County says this is an issue every year, but this year it is more widespread and continues to increase as traffic to the area spikes.

CCNF says Forest Service employees and volunteers are having to redirect their time to pick up the garbage instead of focusing on other important programs in the forest and their community.

“Disappointingly, the national forest will continue to look like a dump site, as the Forest Service does not have enough personnel to provide garbage services over the 1.8 million acres that comprises Coconino National Forest,” the Forest Service said in a release. “With violators often returning to the national forest time and again, leaving their garbage behind, your national forest is becoming a landfill.”

Leaving garbage behind is also punishable with up to a $5,000 fee and/or six months in jail.

Coconino County isn't the only area hit hard by people who don't treat Arizona's forests like they should. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests put out a similar call for help recently, seeing the same piles of garbage left behind in its popular areas.

Leave No Trace has the following 10 ways to lower your impact to camping and forest areas when visiting:

1. Swap a case of plastic water bottles or a plastic jug of water for a refillable water container and reusable bottle

2. Switch from plastic straws to reusable straws

3. Instead of paper plates and plastic utensils, use a cool set of camp dishes

4. Ditch plastic tablecloths, paper towels, and paper napkins for reusable and washable versions

5. Reuse containers for trash bins – Ice bags and snack containers make great trash cans when emptied

6. Repackage food into reusable containers before you head out

7. Avoid buying and bringing food with unnecessary packaging

8. Use a smaller trash receptacle – By using a smaller trash bag, or better yet a reusable Deuter Dirtbag, we can be more aware of the amount of trash we create

9. Rather than discardable single use propane tanks, use a larger refillable tank for stove fuel

10. Keep a separate bag for recyclables and pack it out if not available where camping