Letters to the Editor - 4/7/2021
Last updated 4/6/2021 at Noon
Campers and trash
To the Editor:
We live adjacent to Road 100, the paved connector edging USFS lands between Northwest Pine Street and Highway 20: a lovely little piece of woods to walk dogs, ride bikes, jog and hike — except that it’s not anymore.
These woods, long known as a convenient place for “dispersed camping” are increasingly being used for long-term habitation, and in the process our (as in “We The People”) forest is being trashed, and occasionally used for criminal activity. The atmosphere is rapidly becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Why? Long-term campers who have no regard for the “two-week stay” rule overstay and distribute feces, garbage, drug paraphernalia and, recently, more and more cast-off bits of luggage that looks as if it was stolen, rifled through and dumped.
We nearby residents, and many daily drive-in visitors, frequent the area daily, and we see that the problems noted have taken a dramatic uptick in this past year.
While many of us regularly pick up bits of trash as we walk, and some of us have hauled truckloads (literally) to the dump this year, we can’t control the visitation.
Several trailer camps have been there since November, and several more long-term tent sites exist.
Some have recently been abandoned, leaving behind piles of belongings, scattered food waste, litter and garbage, toilet paper, jars of urine and piles of feces.
Recently, we’ve also noticed several empty handbags, suitcases, handgun holsters and rifle cases, computers and electronics, etc, dumped out there — which we can only assume to have been stolen, taken into the woods and gone through for valuables with the remainder dumped.
This is a problem that needs to be addressed and solved by more than us neighbors. It’s time for DCSO and USFS law enforcement to make themselves more of a daily presence in the area. Perhaps City of Sisters and community organizations could look for creative and supportive ways to find other options, such as keeping spaces (free perhaps?) open year-round in the City campground so that bathrooms and garbage services are easily available.
Certainly, though, a place to start is with enforcement of the two-week rule, because the longer campers stay in one area, the worse the problem will continue to be. We’re willing to help clean up litter, but not if it’s unsafe — we need law enforcement and community-wide support.
Scott R. Bowler