Vandals damage Forest Service campground, forcing closure

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    Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

    What were vandals thinking when they damaged the tube used to collect camping fees at the Lake in the Woods campground? Were they trying to steal the camping fees in the tube? Or were they just intent on vandalizing?

    Because of this senseless act, Oregon’s Umpqua National Forest’s campground has closed early for the season. The campground was scheduled to stay open until November, but because the damaged tube cannot be used to collect camping fees, the Forest Service decided to close it, reported The News-Review.

    People can still walk in to fish, and the vault toilet near the gate will remain unlocked. The Forest Service is investigating additional vandalism in multiple recreation sites along Highway 138 and Little River Road. Anyone with information about the damage is asked to contact the North Umpqua Ranger District at 541-496-3532.

    “It baffles me as to why people destroy what is actually their own property when they are on public lands,” said Steve Marchi, who is in charge of recreation on the Umpqua National Forest. “Not only did the public’s tax dollars build these facilities, but 95 percent of the fees collected there go directly to keeping the site open and operating.”

    The Wolf Creek, Coolwater, White Creek, and Hemlock Lake campgrounds remain open.

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    Billy Bob Thorton
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    Billy Bob Thorton

    I agree, if he’s right, that if 95% goes back into the campground, it truly is a shame. But, I doubt, that the private operators work for a 5% commission, collecting the daily fees, doing minimal maintenance to the pit toilets (in most cases) is correct.

    Not all NFS properties are operated the same, so don’t really know on that statement. In any event, they were stealing the money, why else would they try and wreck the heavy metal drop box, other than to get at the cash. Seems logical, or did I miss something in the article.