Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest cleans up after litterbugs

Posted at 9:18 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 19:11:32-04

HELENA – Officials with the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest say they’ve cleaned up more than 3,200 pounds of trash left in the Forest over the past couple of weeks.

The debris ranges from typical campsite trash to tractor tires, even an abandoned couch and hot tub, and a freezer full of rotten meat.

Forest supervisors also say they’ve discovered used fireworks. Fireworks damaged a relatively new dock at Coulter Campground on the east shore of Canyon Ferry.

It is illegal to light fireworks on National Forest lands.

In a social media post, the Forest Service says cleaning up dump sites takes time and money away from maintenance and routine work that keeps trails and campgrounds in good condition.

If you have any information on who may be responsible, call 1-800-TIP-MONT.

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest wrote in a Facebook post:
Unfortunately, it is becoming a bigger job for our folks to clean up garbage and litter from Forest Service lands. Over the past couple of weeks we have seen an increase in the amount of garbage left on public lands…more than 3,200 pounds of garbage on the Helena/Townsend Recreation zone, alone!

Over the Fourth of July, it was reported that someone set-off fireworks (which is illegal!) from our 2-year-old dock at Coulter on the Helena Ranger District. As you can see in the photos, the fireworks melted the plastic on the dock and all of the garbage was left at the site. We also had someone dump a hot tub on the forest, which we are removing from the site today.

Beyond the typical campsite garbage, we’ve had commercial tractor tires, roofing material, refrigerators, freezers (some full of rotten meat!), hot tub, furniture (couches, chairs, TVs, tables), campers, and more, left out on forest land.

Cleaning up this type of garbage-dumping costs time and money that was originally slated for routine work like cleaning campgrounds, pumping outhouses, improving trails, updating signs, etc. So, we’re sharing this to ask a favor: will you please positively-peer-pressure others to help keep their public lands clean!

We know it’s a small number of people making these big messes. Such instances are investigated before the site is cleaned; if you see something, report it: 1-800-TIP-MONT.

*********THANK YOU to all who already do their part in keeping our national forests clean, safe and pretty for others to enjoy. We appreciate your help and shared values in caring for the land!*********

Photos: Coulter dock damage; an abandoned hot tub on the south side of York Hill; tractor tires, couch, unauthorized trails, all left on Forest lands.