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.

Comments (12)
  1. Roger White says:

    No kidding, you’all just figuring this trash thing out now? I havn’t bothered to visit Angeles Forest in over 25 years just because of the garbage problem, not to mention the cross section of population who are responsible. Shut the whole forest down for good. Solves the problem and saves money. These people don’t deserve the privilege of the forest anyway.

    1. Patrick says:

      My thoughts exactly. It appears there are more bad apples in the bunches these days. Wish they would just stay home….

  2. ginny says:

    People have become such pigs, for some reason they seem to think that they don’t have to pick up after themselves. I agree with you Roger, just close them all down and let people find other ways to entertain themselves. These people do not deserve to enjoy the natural beauty of our parks and forests.

  3. Laura Wallace says:

    Unbelievable. I raised my kids (and now they are raising theirs) to leave each place in nature where they visit a littlle cleaner than they found it. To this day they not only take their own trash, they take other’s trash too. I told them that if each person did this we would someday see a cleaner world. I didn’t realize there were people out there teaching their children just the opposite. I say big fines should be sent out to each registered camper that leaves any trash at their site.

  4. bushman says:

    This is just another problem ceated by the illegal alien hoards that have invaded So. Cal.. Why is there no mention that the hispanic culture is responsible for this mess? I have camped in Mexico since the 70’s, and it never ceases to amaze me how the Mexican people treat their own countryside. The ‘Gringo’s” leave their campsites cleaner than before, the Mexicans just throw their trash on the ground and leave it.

    1. Who's land? My land! says:

      You just hit the nail on the head bushman!
      I have hiked every trail and camped in most of the campgrounds in the Angeles National Forest. This is being done manly by one group of people. Not only illegal, but legal aliens (also known as anchor babies). The fact that we nolonger can enjoy the great outdoors having trash all over the place, the gang bangers use the forest as there hide out from LE. If you go into the local national forest, I suggest you carry a firearm (legaly), so that you can protect yourself.

  5. Rick says:

    I just watched the story on the news. The beginning of the story talked about discarded diapers and feces in the water. Wonder what group is mainly responsible for that?
    At the end of the story they showed Hispanic Children playing in the water with empty plastic bottles and cups with no parents in sight and graffitti in the backround.
    You do not have to go camping to witness this behavior. Go to a supermarket/store in a decent area and then go to the same supermarket/store in a Hispanic neighborhood and tell me what you see. Compare the litter problem, look at the plastic bags everywhere, take 10 steps in any direction and PRESTO a used diaper.
    The ONLY PROPERTY they refuse to leave trash on is the lawns they mow and the fields they pick.

  6. lonnie says:

    ick ,, you hit the nail on the head ,mostly mexicans ,, number 1 also prob to fix is simple is to un dam that water [ use for swimming pools ] it is a federal law to dam up a river , destroys habitat etc , dfg / usfs has regs to against . it .why are they allowing this ????? restore the rivers flow , un dam it , that would keep some of these xxxxxx bags fromgoing there ,, plus save the habitat ,

  7. Handy says:

    For the most part the families and people that use this Canyon are good people. Aparently they were never taught to respect the land. This is no excuse, there needs to be some sort of educational program for these forest users. There needs to be some sort of control of how many people are let into the Canyon at any given time. Bottom line is there are just to many people using this small area. Forestry can’t begin to keep up with all the trash. This is a discusting situation. Children are getting sick from playing in the river. I hope Chanel 9 does a follwup to see if any trash along the river ever got picked up. It never has before and I doubt if it will happen just because of this story.

  8. Handy says:

    I want to add to my last post. There is a group called Super Canyon Sweep that comes in every June and cleans up 1000’s of pounds of trash from the river bottoms as well as the roadways. This group is entirely volunteers. There are other folks that pickup and bag trash. All of this effort is greatly appreciated by those that live here full time. It is very disheartening to those of us that see this day in and day out.

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