Dixie National Forest schedules cleanup of marijuana grow site

ST. GEORGE — An abandoned marijuana grow site is scheduled to be cleaned up this week near the suburb of Pine Valley. Clean up efforts are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, but these dates may be altered if weather conditions hamper aircraft operations.

“These Marijuana Grows occupy a relatively small area compared to the overall landscape, but have far reaching affects,” Joe Rechsteiner, district ranger of the Pine Valley Ranger District, said. “People live at these sites for long periods of time, leave their trash everywhere, use harmful chemicals in their growing efforts, and then walk away and leave a mess for somebody else to clean up.”

Ground cleanup crews will hike to the grow site and bundle everything up into nets at the site. Crews plan on spending the night at the site and continue cleanup operations the next day. On the afternoon of the second day a helicopter will transport the nets to a road system where the backhaul can be transported via ground vehicles.

Membership in multiagency drug taskforces allows the Forest Service to leverage its resources, which has significantly increased the success rate for finding and eradicating illegal growing operations through these increased federal, state, and local partnerships; through resources and information sharing; and through joint operations planning.

Public safety is the agency’s impetus for aggressively and decisively combating this issue, and for vigilantly policing public lands.  The agency is also committed to pursuing every feasible action necessary to prevent adverse impacts to the natural resources and ecosystems on public and adjoining private lands.

“In the past 10 to 15 years we have seen an increase of this kind of activity on the forest,” Rechsteiner said. “I am happy to say that activity has started to slow down over the last year or two. I give a lot of credit to our law enforcement officers, both internally in the Forest Service and our cooperating agencies. They have made this problem a top priority, and we are now seeing the results of their tenaciousness.”

Submitted by Dixie National Forest, Public Relations

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  • SAGEMOON September 8, 2014 at 11:41 am

    … pigs. I can’t stand a litterbug.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Brian September 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Tel Aviv University developed a “dog nose on a chip” sensor in 2012 that is very sensitive, cheap, and small. I’d love to see one of those put on a small RC airplane drone and flown over one of these sites before clean-up, while the plants are still growing, to see if they can be detected from the air. These sites, and the heavily armed cartel workers that staff them, are a danger and a nuisance. I’d like to see an effective way to catch and prosecute them.

  • Dixie Demand September 8, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    The demand for drugs in the Dixie area must be quite high if people are risking arrest to grow marijuana in southern Utah.

    • Brian September 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      The funny thing about drugs is, they’re portable. Pine Valley has the right climate for growing pot in the summer, with easy access to I-15 (Vegas, CA, CO, SLC). The mountains around Panguitch have been used a lot as well, because they’re remote and they can grow good in the summer. So it doesn’t necessarily have anything at all to do with the southern Utah market (though we’re far from drug free here).

  • bobber September 8, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Legalize it. Problem solved…

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