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Trash piles up at Mount Lemmon recreation sites amid pandemic

Trash piles up at Mount Lemmon recreation sites
Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 01:49:30-04

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Visitors looking for cooler temperatures on Mount Lemmon were shocked to see trash everywhere.

Jerry Goldberg was among the hikers that were left in awe of the dump piling up at a recreation site.

“Geez, it’s terrible. I had no idea it was this bad. I see beer bottles and empty bottles of soda all over the place...all around the trash bin over there with plates and soiled material,” said Goldberg.

Signs on Mount Lemmon trail head restrooms read:

“This Coronado National Forest Developed Recreation site has been closed indefinitely for the health and safety of visitors and staff.”

That goes for trash services as well.

They have been suspended, but that doesn’t stop some from taking it upon themselves and leaving this beautiful mountain cleaner than how they found it.

Kathleen Stratton came to Mount Lemmon to enjoy a picnic with her family, but once she saw the trash, she picked up every piece she saw dumped on site.

“That upsets me very much because our dogs go poop and stuff. We put them in a bag, put it in the trash and take it down with us and everybody should be doing that,” Stratton told KGUN9.

Meantime, given the bathrooms have been closed for weeks, visitors know to plan ahead.

“We’ve done most of our necessities before coming out here,” said Goldberg.

Stratton says she is always prepared.

“I’ve got me some Kleenex and trash bags to put the dirty ones in and take it home with me,” she added.

Though regardless of how prepared you are, inevitably, some will have to use the restroom. Goldberg says, sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

“We can do a little fertilization of the environment as well in a safe and efficient manner,” he said.

Their message to visitors is to be prepared and be responsible about picking up your trash.

“It’s a wonderful place to be and they;re ruining it and they need to stop. Keep this mountain clean please,” said Stratton.

For now, both public restrooms and trash services will be locked up due to extended precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though folks can come up and hike or picnic, while following social distancing rules, they are being asked to pick up and take their trash with them, when they leave.