Skip to Content

Earth Day cleanup along Deschutes Canyon: Volunteer ‘horrified’ by trash left at illegal camp

Volunteers clean 40 acres of BLM land along Middle Deschutes

TERREBONNE, Ore., -- (KTVZ) -- Piles of clothes, food, toys, and even buckets of sewage were left at an abandoned campsite off of Lower Bridge Road. To mark Earth Day, volunteers cleaned up trash abandoned at this and other illegal campsites along the rim of the Middle Deschutes River near Terrebonne.

Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area, or FANS, hosted the cleanup along a designated wild and scenic stretch of the river, meaning the river and its surrounding areas are protected.

However, a lot of illegal camping happens, which the volunteers say damages the area.

"The net effect is, the whole canyon rim is full of illegal roads and campsites -- and that's not the appropriate thing for a designated wild and scenic river in the United States," Tom Mottl, a board member of FANS, told NewsChannel 21.

Dirt roads surround the area and give access to flat terrain, where people camp illegally. The area has been driven on for decades, illegally, creating the de facto roads.

Mottl worked for the Bureau of Land Management for 35 years. He says there aren't enough resources to care for and maintain the area, which is on BLM land south of Crooked River Ranch. That's why people camp illegally.

"They're doing the best they can, but they need support," he said.

A founder of FANS, Cindy Murray, says when they first discovered the abandoned camp, "we were horrified" by the amount of garbage left behind. But she says the damage done can be reversed, if the area is monitored.

"Mother Nature will restore herself. So we feel good about that," she said. "It's just going to take a little time and patience."

By the end of Thursday's cleanup, piles upon piles of trash had been collected.

Author Profile Photo

Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.



  1. And in our next story, clueless liberals demand trash service and portapotties in blm lands to help the local homeless population who totally aren’t addicts…

    1. Yes, thank you! Please deliver the port-a-potty to the 11th road off China Hat and I’ll take bi-weekly trash service at the same location. Thank you!

  2. But was the camp illegal? We now accept camping on all public property if we cannot provide enough shelter beds as ruled by the federal courts. And they were surprised by the garbage and ‘sewage” left behind? Have they not seen to homeless camps in Bend and Portland.

  3. Its now time to block off all the ways of any body being able to drive a vehicle on to this section of the BLM. Irresponsible human beings have destroyed the surrounding areas with there filth and misjudgment. let alone there illegal activities. This is the only way that this land will ever be like it was years ago. Then raise the penalty for dumping and leaving the garbage behind to $10,000 dollars not $500.

    1. Fining homeless $10,000 (or any amount) is as silly as expecting China, India and developing African nations to care about their carbon footprint.

    2. Ummm, I think dumping trash is already illegal. Squatting is illegal. There are a litany of broken laws here. The problem is they are not being enforced.

  4. Isn’t it fantastic that the governor continues the complacency towards homelessness and destruction of the beautiful cities of Oregon without a care in the world.? The government is intentionally letting out city be destroyed so we all will get on board and pay to not have our nature and cities destroyed. This is who represents you. What a joke

    1. Why would progressives be shocked? I think you’re projecting. Progressives are the only ones having conversations about how to manage homelessness outside of sending them to another state, which is all your backwater numpties come up with.

        1. So you assumed someone volunteering to help out on Earth day is a liberal because they did something nice and productive? Interesting.

          You seem to be the only one shocked here.

  5. According to those Pompous “In Our America ” yard signs these camps aren’t illegal because people aren’t illegal. Keep enabling the homeless druggie camps because it “feels” good and enjoy what it creates. Libtard lunacy is so fun to watch….

    1. Camping on BLM land for up to 7 days in the same spot is not illegal. Your comment makes you seem really really stupid. So are you a conservative that wants to revoke public camping rights on BLM land? Or are you just ranting about something else because all your tiny brain knows how to do is get really mad and blame “Lib*****” for one thing?

      1. Yes oops, you’re correct. Camping on public land for 7 days or even 14 days isn’t illegal but these people have been “camping” for months or maybe years. That’s called squatting. Why don’t you get a bunch of your like minded friends and let them move in with you? Sounds perfect to me.

        1. Then they should enforce the laws. The absolute lowest IQ response is “THEN YOU TAKE THEM” which is the only idea low-IQ people like you have — just make them someone elses problem.

        1. I never said I did, but you are clearing the only developmentally challenged person here, since you are incapable of discerning factual statements from opinions. I’d be angry and stupid like you too if I never finished college.9

  6. So the local leftists, The Clownkeepers and the rest of them, defend these people with their right to live anywhere they want and turn any nice respectable area into a cesspool. They need to be removed, PERIOD!!! I am not heartless, I was on the bring many years ago, but sucked it up and brought my ex and 3 kids out of that situation to live comfortable productive lives. The local bleeding hearts just want to let them stay in their current situation so they can use them to forward their “agenda”. There are lots of programs out there and these people need to suck it up, bite the bullet and fix their issues and not dump all over everybody else. I have never heard of any of the lefties offer to put these people up. Time to put up or shut up.

  7. What’s horrific is these “camps” are allowed. These people have no regard for our community and what they leave behind. But now that word is out in the bum community that Oregon not only allows this squalor but will also provide services. Historically any state or city that has been governed by liberals for a prolonged period of time has failed miserably. That is a fact.

  8. I am confused by something that has been a mantra of the right for a while now. On one hand they say that the US government has no right to own the federal lands that comprise a great deal of the western US. Like the Mahler refuge. So you have ranchers demanding free access to grazing lands that they feel they have a complete right to use. But, if a homeless person decides to use the federal land because they have nowhere else to go then that is illegal. Now I do agree that they trash the place and the taxpayers have to take care of cleaning it up, which shows their total disrespect for the land. But the clean up cost of the Mahler after that takeover was actually in the millions. So I guess the bigger question to the government is how to allow access to our public lands while educating people on how to care for them respectfully. This applies to both sides of the political spectrum. In the end I still feel that this country has a serious issue that is being skirted around constantly. It is an issue of sheer selfishness and ignorance, and it starts at the top. Perhaps mandatory military service or some kind of public service should be implemented for every citizen. Then maybe people would care about their land and country again and maybe learn some respect.

  9. Ever since Doosh Kounty turned Demokant Blue- the place has turned into a krap hole. A region of “do as we say- not as we do”- has been exposed with some of the highest Chyna Virus numbers in the state- now this garbage problem. I don’t ever recall having these problems when Bend-Redmond declared themselves conservative Republicans who respected life-liberty- the pursuit of happiness. That is a fact !

Leave a Reply

Skip to content