Partyers Wreak Havoc on Forest Service Sites
Jul 26, 2001
From the Quesnel Observer, Wednesday, July 25th, 2001:
Partyers wreak havoc on forest service sites
CALL IT potty humour out of control.
Partyers blow the walls and roof right off an outhouse, leaving a toilet
standing ominously in the woods.
A rise in such destructive party habits at forest service recreation sites
around Quesnel has prompted a serious response. The Ministry of Forests and
Crimestoppers are combining forces to crack down on the vandals.
They hope people will report information about the vandalism to the anonymous
Crimestoppers hotline. Damage to the popular sites has cost over $6,000 already
Graduation parties continue this damaging trend as groups of youths gather in
remote sites to celebrate.
This year has been particularly bad. Usually one or two spots a year are
vandalized, says Gary Hedberg, a recreation officer with the B.C. Forest
So far this year:
- 10 of the 27 local sites have been damaged, including Atan
Lake, Kevin Lake, Lightning Creek, Twin Lakes and Crescent Lake
- Two outhouses have been burned down, one pushed over, and one blown up, prompting police investigations
- The two outhouses at Cuisson Lake have been repeatedly
destroyed three years running, and won't be replaced
Due to vandals, the forest service is asking the Chief Forester to revert the
Cuisson Lake and Bushie Lake sites back to Crown land.
"If vandalism continues we may be forced to severely curtail or close more
sites to the public," Hedberg says.
As Hedberg walked around the Beaver Mouth site last week, he found the forest
service sign ripped from its cement base, two riveted stop signs missing, and
birch trees stripped of their bark.
Already this year crews had swept up shards of beer bottles and other bonfire
remains strewn around the picturesque family reunion spot. Cement abutments
blocking one road were thrown aside by partyers equipped with heavy machinery.
The small proportion of users who vandalize ruin things for the majority who
respect the sites and clean them up, Hedberg says. New outhouses, picnic tables
and fire pits made of cement replace their wooden predecessors, but the Forest
Service doesn't have the means in its maintenance budget to erect heavy
Maintenance workers no longer paint picnic tables, because people carve messages
in them. "We want to offer more services, (such as more firewood) but we're
struggling because we have to play catch up to the vandals," Hedberg says.
Hedberg is tossing around the idea of having local high schools and the local 4
Wheel Drive Club, the Gold City Off Road Syndicate, adopt recreation sites. He
hopes the ownership would lessen the damage. He has noticed that vandals wreck
few signs made by students in wood shop class, (over 200 of them from Correlieu
Senior Secondary this year.)
Over the entire Cariboo Region, vandalism at forest service sites costs tens of
thousands each year.
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