The return of warm weather to Eagle County also brings the return of an increasing problem – illegal dumping on open lands around the county. Local and federal officials are asking for help in curtailing the activity.
“We are fortunate to have public lands and open spaces adjacent to our communities – they are literally our backyards,” said County Commissioner Sara Fisher. “Unfortunately, their proximity also makes them popular illegal dumping sites.”
Already this spring, staff from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service and Eagle County are reporting new piles of yard waste, household trash, used appliances, wooden pallets and abandoned vehicles on lands close to communities and highways throughout the county.
“The only way we can keep these important areas from becoming impromptu dumps is with the public’s help,” said Steve Bennett, field manager for the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office.
Officials are offering these tips to help stop illegal dumping:
Never dump any waste on open lands, including yard waste such as branch and grass clippings. They increase fire hazards and encourage more dumping from others.
Use the Eagle County Landfill to dispose of your trash. Eagle County residents may dispose of up to 1,600 pounds of trash and four tires per year at no charge with proof of residency. Household hazardous waste disposal is also available. Visit www.eaglecounty.us/recyclingwaste or call 970-328-3470 for more information.
Participate in one or more of the many clean-up events that occur throughout the year. Watch for information on a free e-waste collection event coming this summer, sponsored by the Eagle County Landfill.
Report any suspicious or illegal activities on public lands, including dumping. Call the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office at 970-328-8500. Or, contact Eagle County Crime Stoppers at 970-328-7007 or 1-800-972-TIPS, submit your tip online at www.tipsubmit.com, or text a tip from your cell phone by texting STOPCRIME plus your message to CRIMES (274637). If your tip leads to an arrest and indictment, you could earn up to a $1,000 reward from Crime Stoppers.
In addition, groups are encouraged to “adopt” an area to maintain. For instance, every year Rocky Mountain Sport Riders removes more than 2,000 pounds of illegally dumped items and garbage from the Hardscrabble area.
For more information about Eagle County’s Environmental Health programs, call 970-328-8755. For more information about BLM public lands, or on how your group can adopt an area, contact the Colorado River Valley Field Office at 970-876-9000.