Illegal camp airlifted out of forest

August 20, 2003


NEAR EASTON, Wash. - The U.S. Forest Service and private wilderness groups are teaming up to help tear down an illegal camp constructed deep in the woods, just one of many homesteads scarring public lands in Washington.

Friends of the Trails workers who took the long hike into the illegal camp took pictures of the camp. Time and the elements have taken a toll but at one time it was a full-fledged hunting camp, complete with stove, kitchen, and home comforts you'd never expect to find out in the middle of nowhere.

Volunteer trail workers took this picture of the remains of the camp.
"They had indoor carpet four miles up in the woods- indoor carpet," said Jerry Harris of Friends of the Trail.

Whoever took it all out there made themselves very much at home, like they owned the place.

"They think they have the God-given right to come here and use it but not take care of it," said Wade Holden of Friends of the Trail.

The clean-up did not come cheap - the groups had to hire a private helicopter crew to pull four loads, three-quarters of a ton of trash, from the camp. There are no roads in or out of the area and that has crews pondering the obvious question: how'd they get the stuff out there?

A helicopter airlifted three loads of trash.
"You got me," said Dave Nalle of the U.S. Forest Service.

It took a lot of time and effort but all that work is now like any other illegal camp forest officials find in the woods, just a pile of garbage headed for the dump.

Federal and state forest officials are increasing efforts to get the junk out of the forests and promise stiff penalties for anyone they catch taking it out there.


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