US Forest Service sign alarms camper dealing with dumping at Applegate Lake

Autumn Strickling packed out five bags of trash and two tires from Applegate Lake dispersed camping area left be other visitors. (Courtesy: Autumn Strickling)

A concerned campground visitor Autumn Strickling tells News 10 she packed out bags of garbage from an Applegate Lake campground. Most of which wasn’t hers including two full-size tires.

She says she’s concerned the prices are going up at the campground due to a sign she saw from the U.S. Forest Service stapled to a tree.

The sign read, "Attention campers. The Forest Service is considering the future management of these dispersed sites. Why? Large amounts of garbage, human waste, and toilet paper are being left at these dispersed campsites. There are also problems with tree cutting, vehicles driving off of roads and trampled plants. We are concerned about the damage to natural resources.

If you use this area:

  • Pack out all garbage.
  • Take it home with you!
  • Bury your waste (Feces) including toilet paper at least 6 inches deep and more than 100 feet from any creek or river.
  • Don't cut trees.
  • Stay on established trails and open roads.
  • Enjoy your public lands responsibly and please leave no trace.

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Public Affairs Specialist Chamise Kramer said the sign should have been taken down.

"We had originally posted that sign last year at various areas. Later it was determined that we needed to reevaluate how we were approaching that because there is a long history of dumping in that area," Kramer said.

Dispersed camping is free and fees are not expected to be assessed. "It's not in process at all," Kramer said.

Last weekend Strickling went camping only to find the free dispersed camping area at the Applegate Lake was littered with trash and she took the sign as a threat from the government.

"There are multiple signs. I don't know how long those signs have been up there but they look fairly new," Strickling said. "The signs basically say if we don't start picking up our garbage they forestry service is going to start charging people."

Strickling an area native has been camping in the area since she was a kid. "Everything is beautiful. Everything is free you don't have to pay for anything," Strickling said.

She said while the outdoors is great the people she's encountered have been a problem.

"Last summer we went camping and we saw these people chopping down all the trees around them. The whole family cut down six trees and they were making T-Pees out of them," Strickling said. She decided to clean up after them anyway.

"They left and all the trees were cut down and they left all of their garbage. We bagged up the trash and took it out with our Tahoe."

The US Forest Service shares Strickling's frustration with litterbugs.

"We wanted to bring awareness to the dumping issue but a lot of people know it's a problem," Kramer said.

Kramer said the staff has removed full cars, appliances, and human waste. "Diapers and camping gear... you name it, it has probably been taken out of that area," Kramer said.

Kramer said volunteer groups help and one time a fire crew pulled out seven dumpster worth of refuse. Strickling feels like her fellow man have let her down.

"We went over there and picked up their trash and basically followed the trash all the way down to the river," Strickling said.

She said she found used condoms, drug needles, dirty underwear they left behind there was tires and plastic everywhere.

"This is ridiculous.," Strickling said. "They're grown ups. I don't know if they just haven't lived here. They don't respect Oregon."

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