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Forest Service seeks information on vandalism, trash dumping at High Knob Tower

Staff report • Jan 30, 2020 at 3:15 PM

NORTON — U.S. Forest Service authorities are seeking information on vandalism, trash dumping and illegal off-road vehicle use on Clinch Ranger District land.

Clinch District Ranger Michelle Davalos said the incidents include damage to a visitor signature board at the High Knob Tower in Wise County and off-road vehicle damage at the Birch Knob and Mullins Pond Road sites in Dickenson County.

Davalos said Forest Service employees and forest visitors have reported household trash dumping across sites in Wise, Lee, Scott and Dickenson counties and Letcher and Pike counties in Kentucky.

“It is unfortunate that our limited staff and dollars must be diverted from maintaining our recreation sites to address the damage caused by those who choose to litter and vandalize our forests,” Davalos said. “We need your help taking care of these special places so that we can continue to provide high-quality recreation opportunities.”

Davalos said the High Knob vandalism damaged what was supposed to be a “time capsule” of visitors to the tower. The off-road vehicle damage contributes to erosion and plant damage that can degrade water quality, she said.

In addition, illegal off-road vehicle use near Birch Knob Tower and Mullins Pond Road in Dickenson County has damaged natural resources.

Anyone with information on the incidents or other violations can call Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer David Ford at (276) 679-8370, extension 225. Purposely damaging public resources could result in fines of up to $5,000 and up to six months in jail.

Davalos asked forest visitors to use “Leave No Trace” and “Pack it In, Pack it Out” practices when visiting a national forest.

For more information, call the Clinch Ranger District office in Norton at (276) 679-8370.

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