Sites pose multiple problems to forest lands

Two forested areas in Washington County have been identified as illegal dump sites, according to a USDA Forest Service news release issued Monday.

Officials said recent illegal dumping in the Cherokee National Forest was under investigation. Two areas of the Unaka Ranger District in Washington County — off Horse Cove Gap and Ramsey Creek Road south of Johnson City — have been used to illegally dispose of about 300-500 tires each.

“It is a shame that tires and other household trash are being carelessly discarded in the forest,” Unaka District Ranger Leslie Morgan said in the news release. “Tire dump sites can cause many problematic areas. Besides being unsightly and non-biodegradable, disease-carrying rodents and insects are attracted to these sites.

“They also pose an increased risk for forest fires. This is very serious and we want to stop these kinds of activities. We all own our national forests. As an owner, you have a stake in what happens in the forest.”

The dump sites are approximately a quarter to one half acre in size located on National Forest System Road No. 5352 – Horse Cove Gap — and NFSR No. 4355A — Ramsey Creek Road south of Johnson City.

Dumping on national forest land is a Class B Misdemeanor and punishable by a fine not more than $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months.

If you have information about these dump sites or see someone dumping tires or other debris in the Cherokee National Forest, notify the Unaka Ranger District at 423-638-4109.

From staff reports