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Litter Causes Problems For Angeles National Forest Workers, Environment

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(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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ARCADIA (CBS) — Labor Day campers and visitors to the Angeles National Forest are failing to use trashcans and dumpsters, causing a huge litter problem for the park, according to officials.

“We picked up 35,000 to 40,000 pounds of trash this weekend in this canyon alone,” said Nathan Judy of the U.S. Forest Service.

And that’s not all of it. U.S. Forest workers typically navigate rocks and cliffs to pick up trash around the park, but Labor Day visitors leave more behind than usual.

As of Tuesday, Judy’s crew had yet to begin picking up after the holiday weekend.

“This whole thing is full of diapers, trash, shoes,” said Judy.

Park employees are also getting a hand from volunteers.

“The people who camp on the river leave the trash where they sit,” said volunteer Mark Yelton, who drives out truckloads of trash himself.

He says the problem has grown much worse during his 13 years volunteering at the park. He says  campers fail to use the dumpsters along campsites.

“This is a unique forest as close to LA County as it is and the amount of people that use it, but that’s no reason it should be abused,” Yelton said.

Officials say trash at campgrounds isn’t the only problem, the litter ends up in the San Gabriel River.

“Approximately 35 percent of LA’s drinking water comes from this river.  To pollute it up here where it begins is a travesty,” Judy said.

For more on how you can volunteer to clean up the Angeles National Forest, visit them online.

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