Campers Trash National Forest Campground, It’s Now Closed Indefinitely
As campers, we would like to think everyone else respects nature as much as we do. It seems common knowledge that we should pack in, pack out and leave no trace – we’ve all heard it time and time again. For many of us, it is common sense, and we wouldn’t dream of destroying the land we love so much.
Sadly, people can sometimes abuse our public lands, causing closures.
This disrespect of our land has caused Mann Creek Campground in Idaho to experience a recent closure.
Where Is Mann Creek Campground?
Mann Creek Campground is located on Bureau of Reclamation land and operated by the Payette National Forest in Idaho. To access the area from nearby Weiser, Idaho, you will take Highway 95 north for 12 miles. Once you read Mann Creek Road north, take it for around 2.5 miles, where you will find Mann Creek Reservoir as well as the campground.
Mann Creek Campground is used primarily from mid-April through mid-September. There are 13 primitive campsites with picnic tables and fire rings. Drinking water is available at the campground. Campers have access to a vault toilet should they wish to use it.
Why Is Mann Creek Campground Closing?
Unfortunately, Mann Creek Campground is closing due to vandalism and other damages. The park reports damage to some of the park’s information and recreation signs. These damaged signs are not only unsightly but also a nuisance to those needing information from the signs.
There are signs covered in graffiti, torn down, or even littered with bullet holes.
Has Anyone Been Charged?
At this time, the park system is not pressing charges on anyone for the damages.
Agencies are asking anyone that has information to come forward regarding damage. They are also asking people to come forward and notify authorities if they come across further damage to aid them with documentation and clean-up efforts.
Will Mann Creek Campground Open In The Future?
The U.S. Forest Service – Payette National Forest has made a statement regarding the reopening:
“Closure is not an easy nor quick decision to make. This campground will be open again in the near future. We ask that people don’t mix this particular situation with thoughts of public lands becoming permanently unavailable to the public as this is not the case – this campground will open again once the overall situation that led to the closure has been resolved.”
Thankfully, the campground will reopen once the area is in acceptable conditions.
What Can You Do To Help Prevent The Destruction Of Public Lands?
Keeping public lands open is everyone’s responsibility. We can all help prevent the destruction of public lands by ensuring we are not creating the problem. Destruction isn’t limited to the obvious things such as graffiti and piles of trash. Those things do damage our lands, but it isn’t the only destruction that can occur.
It is easy to think leaving a few cigarette butts here and there or throwing trash into a firepit isn’t an issue, but it is. Every bit of destruction adds up and negatively affects our public lands. Be sure you are doing your part to take care of these lands.
In addition, to “leave no trace,” you can help by cleaning up when you see it is needed. It is never fun to clean up someone else’s mess but leaving a campsite cleaner than you found it can do wonders in maintaining an area. If you come across trash on public lands and have the ability to do so, picking it up can help encourage others to do so as well.
Always report any vandalism found to authorities so they can deal with it swiftly and appropriately. Vandalism that is left unreported can often lead to continued damage. Destruction of property is never acceptable and can come with heavy fines and even criminal charges in some situations.
Another common form of land destruction comes in the way of campsite development. Be sure you are camping in areas designated for camping. Never alter the land to create a space for you to camp. Removing plant life to create a campsite disrupts the ecology system, which can have lasting effects.
While it is good news that this campground has plans to reopen, many public lands are closing permanently. Misuse of these areas can lead to land fatigue and a strain on the rangers trying to maintain the site. Have you experienced misuse of public lands during your travels?
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