View Full Version : Trash On The Trails. Leave It Be.

05-13-2005, 10:22 AM
Saw this on a list of obscure and obtuse laws. Hope it isn't a repeat.


White Mountain National Forest Laws
"If a person is caught raking the beaches, picking up litter, hauling away trash, building a bench for the park, or many other kind things without a permit, he/she may be fined $150 for ''maintaining the national forest without a permit''.

Is this reverse psychology? "I'm a rebel man, let's go pick up some trash off the trails... that'll show 'em. Those rangers will never take us alive."

If I ever got a $150 fine for carrying out other's trash, I would have the ticket framed and hanging on my wall.

05-13-2005, 10:40 AM
This makes you wonder what the GS classification is for "writer, comedy."

Or is that, "writer, tragedy?"


05-13-2005, 10:42 AM
You should be safe next week...your pack is going to be so heavy you would not consider putting any extra trash in it! :D

That law is the most ridiuclous thing I have ever seen...if they ever tried to press that on anyone the amount of bad press they would get would make them drop the charges quickly.

On other thought on this...if you are a citizen of the nation doesn't that make it your national forest? If it is "our" national forest aren't we supposed to be the ones caring for it? :confused:

05-13-2005, 10:53 AM
if they ever tried to press that on anyone the amount of bad press they would get would make them drop the charges quickly.

They (USFS) did (press charges) once, and they did (drop charges) quickly.
It was an incident in the NH Lakes Region. A guy was cleaning up trash. The law is still on the books, I assume, to prohibit bending the rules by "building benches," trimming the brush a little (i.e., logging w/o permit), and such. I'm sure USFS is much more careful now about what they choose to prosecute after the bad press over the Lakes incident.

05-13-2005, 12:12 PM
I'm a rebel and won't stop picking up litter I see, but I wonder if the law is on the books to prevent people from taking artifacts they find in the parks, such as tools uncovered from logging camps, etc., which people could claim as trash. That isn't so much of an issue around here, but I was just visiting my son in Leadville, Colorado and on a tour of the old mining operations there he explained that it was illegal to pick up any "trash" that was more than 50 years old. Same thing is true on the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska, which is one of the major passageways for those seeking their fortune in the Gold Rush there. Look but don't touch. It's amazing to look around and see spoons, and cans, and bits and pieces of clothing and even "kits" for making boats that remain just as they were discarded over a hundred years ago.

05-13-2005, 12:43 PM
Looks like a more detailed definition of trash/litter is needed here. On the surface the law looks comical at best. :)

David Metsky
05-13-2005, 12:48 PM
I'd like to see the text of the statute. I remember during the case mentioned above the actual text is quite different from the summation quoted on the dumblaws site.

IIRC, the thrust of the statute was trying to prevent people from "improving" the national forest by building, diverting, moving, things and terrain, not picking up trash. It was applied in this case because someone was doing some large scale cleanup.


05-13-2005, 01:44 PM
Google "Frank Barilone" (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Frank-Barilone) for more info.

I have not yet found the particular regulation in question.

05-13-2005, 02:51 PM
I am not sure about the law but if it was the case both my self and a USFS ranger should be in Federal Prison I was doing some selective logging and found a party site accessible by some renegade 4x4 or ATV roads I had two Bobcat runs of trash I mean every thing from lots of beer and other liquor bottles plastic lawn chairs, a sleeper sofa, a tarp., fuel cans a old Coleman stove and more Now my Bobcat bucket holds a yard . Just think a two YARDS of trash form, a party site. In fact the ranger was so kind as to help me dispose of the trash in the proper manner. . Did she break the law?
I was not arrested nor was the ranger fired for dereliction of duties for not arresting me. Though My selective logging and trash runs ,did make the Kids, they were not locals who partied there mad and allowed the law enforcement types to get in there and bust up the mess. They partiers parents who come from the land of pavement and drive cars and SUVs made in Bravaria were not happy at al and amazingly blamed every one but their little dears who needed $ 5,000 babysitters known as ATVs . Sorry thay had to be guests of the stae for a few nights. Do not get arrested on a Friday night you get out Monday in a van to go to court in orange jammies must suck .
Better yet do not litter and make a big mess.

05-13-2005, 03:31 PM
IIRC, the thrust of the statute was trying to prevent people from "improving" the national forest by building, diverting, moving, things and terrain, not picking up trash. It was applied in this case because someone was doing some large scale cleanup.

Yeah, Look at all of that dead wood around. I'm going to clean up this garbage. And these big rocks in the way? And hey! Looks like someone closed of this trail. I'll just open it up again.

"One man's junk is another man's <fill in the blank>

05-13-2005, 03:36 PM
Dude, with that chainsaw you can do whatever you want. :)

05-13-2005, 03:44 PM
Mines is bigger and meaner. Can I do what ever I want ? JK

05-13-2005, 11:38 PM
I think anyone who's been involved in environmental regulation has come accross someone who's "cleaned up the trash." I've got one now where someone cut down the alders along the side of a brook, put down a bunch of gravel to "keep the mud out of the water" and so on. He said he did it to make it so mallards could land (apparently, they now need a 100 foot runway).

05-14-2005, 06:21 AM
I find it absurd to lump trash-removal in with a law prohibiting trail maintenance.

Also absurd is the idea of hiking past a water bottle or a candy wrapper because it's illegal to remove it. I guess I brake federal law every time I hike. :rolleyes:

Equally absurd is the idea that the Forest Service will keep the trails free of trash.

paul ron
05-14-2005, 01:05 PM
Sounds like job security for AMC trail maintainers. I wonder what a yearly permit will cost?

05-16-2005, 08:56 AM
I know someone was fined a few years back in the Shenandoah NP for removing trash... had to do with age of the debris - 25 or 50 yrs (I forget which) makes it an "historic" artifact!

05-16-2005, 09:38 AM
I saw the rusted parts of a woodstove and stove pipe (see attached pic) on the Gale River Trail the other day. The GRT is the site of logging back into the later 19th c, when J. E. Henry crews were on the side of Galehead, and logging camps in that area continued as late as the 1940s, maybe later. So, is it trash or treasure? Would you have hauled it out or left it there?

05-16-2005, 10:37 AM
My last hike up through Indian Pass (Adirondack HPs) two or three years ago took me past Scott’s Dam. This is an historic site, once the location of considerable lumbering activity. Aproaching remnants of the dam, I was intrigued to see that someone had collected many old iron (barrel) hoops and hung them on branches of a birch tree off to the side of the trail. Other artifacts were likewise collected in that spot.

I found this assemblage an intriguing reminder of activities from another era in that locale.


05-16-2005, 10:50 AM
I saw a lineup of about 10 shovel heads that were leaning against a log in the area of an old logging camp in the Pemi. I had to chuckle at the orderliness in the wilderness.