EPHRAIM—A slew of spray-painted graffiti is defacing rocks off the New Canyon Road in Ephraim Canyon this spring, says Kevin Christensen, director of economic development for Sanpete County.
“There was always a small amount of graffiti in that area, but it has just exploded this spring,” said Christensen who believes it is being done by 16-to-25 year olds. “It’s everywhere. We need to get the message out to youth that this type of behavior is illegal and unacceptable.”
In addition, the U.S. Forest Service has been seeing an increase in people illegally dumping trash, including larger household items, in the Manti and Nebo units and in other parts of the Manti-LaSal National Forest.
“Dumping is certainly not something we approve of,” said Johnny Collin, district ranger for the Sanpete Ranger District. “We hope people remember that it is their public lands, and they have a responsibility, along with land management agencies, to take care of it for current and future generations to enjoy.”
Dumping is illegal and subject to fines from either from Forest Service officers or the Sanpete County Sheriff.
Although the Sanpete County landfill in Chester recently started charging $10 for mattresses and couches, the landfill in Mayfield does not charge unless you bring a big stack, according to a county landfill representative.
Most of the dumping is happening a few miles inside the Forest Service boundary. It often occurs on other property before spilling onto the forest, Collin said.
“It can be very expensive to clean up,” he said.
In addition to the rocks, graffiti has appeared on the north side of one of the Ephraim hydroelectric plants and on a concrete bridge in the canyon.
“Once it gets started, people think it’s OK,” Christensen said. “We don’t want to get into that down here.”