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.