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Idaho officials seek cleanup help amid rise in park visits

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) - National park and forest officials in Idaho have reported an increase in trash and waste at public lands across the state since the coronavirus pandemic pushed more people outside.

The national parks and national forests around the United States are experiencing the same problem, including the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho, east of Boise, The Times-News reported.

The National Forest Foundation, Sawtooth Society, Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association and Idaho Conservation League have asked for volunteers to help clean up the area between now and Oct. 4.

"We think it's absolutely necessary this year," National Forest Foundation Northern Rockies Program Manager Dani Southard said.

The volunteers will be able to pick how and where they help with a self-guided effort.

Southard said there is a lot of trash in the wilderness, but even more around accessible lakes and rivers. She also said people have parked their vehicles and setup campsites outside of designated areas and have not managed their own human waste.

U.S. Forest Service Sawtooth NRA Recreation Program Manager Susan James said there have been 300 unattended campfires this year compared to the 27 last year. She also said her rangers have buried more than 50 piles of poop in the backcountry.

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Associated Press


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