Forest Service says trashed campsites an increasing problem in Utah

Posted at 9:20 PM, Jun 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-17 23:20:19-04

NORTHERN UTAH -- Father's Day weekend is one of the most popular times to go camping, but every year more and more campers are leaving their trash behind, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

It's ending up scattered across campgrounds, in fire pits, along lake shores, and among the trees, according to Carol Majeske of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

"Many times going on Scout trips we walk into a camp and spend the first hour cleaning up before we can get started because it's a mess," said camper Tony Gold.

Some say they just don't understand why anyone would be so rude, not necessarily to their fellow campers, but to Mother Nature.

"We love it up here in the canyons, it's so beautiful, the last thing we want to do is leave trash," said Ethan Fisher.

The Forest Service said with nine million visitors expected in the Unitah-Wasatch -Cache National Forest this year, you're bound to have some dirty guests.

"Maybe they get sidetracked and go for a hike, or they are anxious to leave their campgrounds so they don't really clean up, some of it is not intentional, some of it is," Majeske said.

Majeske said there are no excuses. There are trash cans at most sites, and, if there isn't, then what you pack in you also need to pack out.

"We have trash bags all over," said camper Nicole Valcarce. "Water bottles, everything is going to go back into the coolers, back to home, trash is coming with us."

Valcarce is even being careful with her food scraps. The Forest Service says that's important.

"Some of the trash that's being left out is being eaten by small mammals, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and they've gotten pretty aggressive," Majeske said.

"They find a piece of trash, and next thing you know that leads to our tent, and they are in our tent, and eating food out of our tent, and we don't want that," Fisher said.