Grassland trash unappealing mess

WATFORD CITY – Pick up your garbage and take it home, and don’t use the U.S. Forest Service National Grasslands as a dumping ground for trash of any sort. That is the message that can be taken from a recent cleanup effort conducted northwest of Sather Dam.

McKenzie County Ranger District employees converged on a section of what is supposed to be pristine National Grasslands for the purpose of picking up trash – lots of it. Workers picked up one-half ton of garbage of all sorts on a 48-acre patch of Little Missouri National Grasslands.

“Man did we find lots of stuff!” said Babete Anderson, public affairs officer. “There was a broken lawn mower, gas cans, road signs, car parts, fast food wrappers, bottles or whatever. It’s a reminder for folks recreating on private lands to pack out what they pack in.”

The trash gathered by the workers filled a flatbed trailer and three pick-up beds. Some of the trash went to a recycling center, but most went to a dump ground where it belonged in the first place.

“Some employees were out there and ran across the area. They knew it had to be cleaned up,” said Anderson. “You could tell people were definitely using the area for target practice. There was a large amount of used ammunition, mostly .22s.”

The McKenzie County Ranger District usually conducts one clean-up day a year on land that should be litter-free. The fine for littering is $150, but the culprits would have to be caught in the act or turned in by other visitors to the Grasslands.