Arizona Forests Hit With Trash Buildup From Campers

Published: Monday, June 22, 2020 - 5:57pm
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The health of Arizona’s National Forests may be another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

Record numbers of campers have escaped to the pines since the pandemic began.

But many of them are inexperienced. They light fires, in spite of a fire ban.

They leave trash, including buckets of human waste.

Brady Smith is with Coconino National Forest. He says campers leave all kinds of things.

"We’ve found things that you would find at a dump site. Couches. Cars. Trailers that have been abandoned. So, people have used the national forest in a lot of different ways as a dumping site," Smith said. 

Smith said that the Forest Service does not budget for trash pickup. If a trail building crew has to divert time to clean up trash, that means it has less time to work on trails. 

Apache-Sitgreaves reports destruction of meadows by ATVs, abandoned campfires and garbage. 

The Forest Service urges campers to enjoy their forests responsibly. Take plenty of trash bags and leave a clean camp. 

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