My Turn: Public land is not a dump |

My Turn: Public land is not a dump

At the west end of Olympic Heights, on U.S. Forest Service land, there are two protected wetland meadows, both are posted with no motorized vehicle signs and one is fenced off for a specific plant study. Currently both these meadows are bone dry for obvious reasons. This morning while walking my dogs around the unfenced meadow I found that someone had driven what looks like a motorized cart into the meadow and proceeded to make high speed circles on the meadow, permanently damaging a sensitive area.

I went to the U.S. Forest Service office to talk with Carrie because she has been involved with a low key restoration of that meadow. What I found out is the there is a large growth in damage being done on sensitive Forest Service land by a few number of off road vehicle users. Because of restrictions currently in place for off road vehicles with the fire dangers and the Forest Service trying to restore sensitive areas previously damaged by off roaders it seems that some off road vehicle users have decided to challenge the Forest Service authority to protect the land, you know, public land is for the public to use and abuse at their whim.

I also mentioned that some people like to use this area to dump their yard trash. Carrie brought in another Forest Service person who’s job now is to track down persons who are using Forest Service land to dump the material from the clearing of defensible space around their house. No matter what their intentions are, it is Forest Service land, not a public dump.

I did not have a possible answer to that problem till later. In the past some people would dump batteries, old oil and paint ect. wherever they could because of the expense of getting rid of it properly. Now I am not sure how it came about, but land fills started taking these products for free to help clean up the environment. So, how about the Forest Service and the regional landfill on Highway 89 south, form a partnership for about a month, everyone who brings their yard debris from clearing defensible space, pine needles whatever, no construction material, to the regional landfill for no charge.

The landfill then uses the large mulch machine they have to shred all the material and, as they do now, sell the resulting product as ground cover. It is a win-win for everyone. And if anyone knows who drove that cart into the meadow, the Forest Service would like to hear from you.

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