Kernville, Calif., March 25, 2015--For immediate release. Tagging rocks and buildings with graffiti, dumping trash and other defacement of National Forest land will not be tolerated. Recently, Forest Service patrols have seen a marked increase in illegal dumping on the Forest. The Forest Service has also had reports of people changing and dumping oil in the dry lake bed. This is very bad for the environment because synthetic oil does not decompose naturally; and according to studies, just one gallon of oil can foul the taste of 250,000 gallons of drinking water. Last week, the Keepers of the Kern (a volunteer group that focuses on keeping the Wild and Scenic Kern River clean) found that Ant Canyon had been heavily spray-painted with graffiti since their last cleanup only one month earlier. Discovering this graffiti (and the blatant disregard for the natural beauty meant to be shared by all) can be disheartening for the volunteer groups on which the Forest Service relies to help keep the National Forest beautiful for all its visitors. This type of illegal activity also costs the Forest Service time and money, and therefore costs the taxpayer money.
FS patrols and law enforcement officers (LEOs) stay busy patrolling the 1.2 million acres within the Sequoia National Forest. Although they make many stops and give out warnings and tickets to those not following the rules, they cannot be everywhere and see everything as it happens. Timely information shared by the public can greatly help patrols and LEOs decrease, and often stop, illegal activities on the Forest. Do not engage people doing these activities! Report it to the authorities—either Forest Service or local law enforcement. The Sequoia National Forest offices’ contact information can be found on www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia.
Graffiti is considered destruction of government property under the Code of Federal Regulations and carries a fine of $275; but violators may also be fined the cost of restitution (the cost of cleaning it up). Dumping of any refuse, debris (including leaves, brush, and yard clippings), trash or litter brought from private property is also a violation of the Code of Federal Regulations; and violators will be fined $325 plus restitution when caught. Dumping motor oil in the lake bed can carry very hefty environmental fines.
The proper way to dispose of trash and debris in the Kern River Valley is to take it to the Kern County Waste Management’s Kern Valley Transfer Station. It is located 6 miles southeast of Kernville on Sierra Way; it is open Thursday through Tuesday from 8AM to 4PM (closed Wednesday); and it allows household trash to be dropped off at no charge.