‘We get a lot of trash’: Litter, graffiti found across Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Aug 16, 2023, 5:53 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2023, 9:53 am

Tibble Fork Reservoir...

Tibble Fork Reservoir can be a serene place for outdoor activities but people who vacation in the area say the area is littered with trash and graffiti. (KSL TV)


AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah — Some Utahns say the amount of litter and graffiti left in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest has become a problem.

The trash has also been spotted around Tibble Fork Reservoir. Visitors there said the amount of trash they see in the area depends on the day.

“Some days, if you come up on a weekend, there’s a lot,” visitor Elaine Corbridge said.

She said since the area’s parking lot and beach were upgraded, it’s attracted bigger crowds.

“It seemed like once it started getting more busy up here, then it just came with more trash,” Corbridge said.

David Whittekiend, forest supervisor for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, said this problem is widespread. It’s not limited to Tibble Fork.

“Trash will blow around and it can cause problems for wildlife,” he said. “A lot of people have seen animals that have gotten stuck in plastic pop can holders. It impacts the water and the watershed.”

A sign posted on one restroom at Tibble Fork Reservoir read, “This restroom has been vandalized several times–We are working to get the offensive graphics covered. If this behavior continues at this needed restroom site — it will be permanently closed for public use.”

“That’s our last resort,” Whittekiend said. “That’s the last thing we want for our watersheds. When people have to go to the bathroom, they have to go to the bathroom. We want to manage human waste and we want to manage it in restroom facilities not out on the forest.”

He said they regularly find tagging across the forest on buildings, rocks, and trees.

“People come in and I guess they decide they’re going to tag buildings or paint up whatever it is,” he said. “That costs us a lot of money as well. We do have to get specialized equipment, specialized chemicals to remove graffiti. It takes time and it’s time we could be investing in providing better recreation resources.”

There are no trash cans at Tibble Fork Reservoir. Whittekiend said it’s critical people have a plan for picking up their trash.

“If they pack it in, please pack it out,” he said. “It does cost more money for us to offer up trash services. That far into the forest, it’s difficult to get anybody who’s able to come up and pick it up.”

Corbridge said when people don’t comply with this rule, it’s up to the forest service and volunteers like her to pick up what’s left behind.

“A lot of people think someone else will do it for them,” she said. “We helped on a cleanup up here and we got dozens of bags of trash that we picked up.”

The bad behavior can lead to bad consequences for the environment. Whittekiend said garbage that’s left in bathrooms can get stuck in pumps. Waste left in fire rings can bring animals to campsites.

“If people are caught littering, fines start at $150 and fines for graffiti start at $275, plus the potential for restitution as we clean those areas up,” he said.

“I love this canyon, I come up here a lot, so it’s just kind of annoying to see people not care for it,” Corbridge said.

KSL 5 TV Live


With wildfires starting to pop up around the state, Stage 1 fire restrictions are now in place in s...

Alex Cabrero

Stage 1 fire restrictions now in place for southern Utah

With wildfires starting to show up around the state, Stage 1 fire restrictions are now in place in southern Utah as announced Friday by the Bureau of Land Management. 

5 hours ago

Highway 128 covered in mud after a severe storm swept through Grand County on Friday. (Grand County...

Kyle Remund, KSL NewsRadio

Cleanup begins after severe storm in eastern Utah

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement earlier Saturday detailing both the damage caused by the storm and the efforts of first responders because of it.

7 hours ago

The Accord Fire broke out Saturday in Sevier County, according to Utah Fire Info....

Mark Jones

New wildfire has started up in Sevier County near Accord Lakes

A new wildlife has broken out Saturday in Sevier County, according to Utah Fire Info.

10 hours ago

Bullfrog Main Ramp at Lake Powell...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

More ramps open as Lake Powell continues to rise from spring runoff

Boaters now have more ramps to launch out of Lake Powell as the reservoir continues to gain water from this year's snowpack runoff.

3 days ago

Smoke fills the sky from the South Fork Fire in Ruidoso, New Mexico, on June 17. (Courtesy Jesus Fi...

Fabiana Chaparro, Jillian Sykes and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

New Mexico governor declares state of emergency due to wildfires

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Lincoln County and the Mescalero Apache Reservation as two wildfires continue to burn across the southern part of the state.

4 days ago

High winds caused damage and chaos in Utah County on Monday, including a fire that sparked in Pleas...

Daniel Woodruff

Strong winds wreak havoc in Utah County

High winds caused damage and chaos in Utah County on Monday, including a fire that sparked in Pleasant Grove.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

‘We get a lot of trash’: Litter, graffiti found across Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest