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Hikers Complain Harriman State Park's Trails Are Littered With Trash

RAMAPO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Hikers say they're concerned Harriman State Park is starting to look like a landfill.

They say trash is taking over the property and there aren't enough rangers to clean up the mess.

Collecting coffee cups was not how Krista Whiteman and her fellow hikers planned to spend their day at the park, but they told CBS2's Ali Bauman they just couldn't ignore all the trash on the trail.

"It shows me that people don't respect this area," Whiteman said. "They're not really interacting with nature, they don't value it."

Many regulars said the litter has multiplied over the past year.

It can be seen scattered on the outskirts and piled deep on the trails. The two-mile trail to Pine Meadow Lake has become particularly filthy, Bauman reported.

"Whatever compounds leach out of plastics and wrappers and anything else go into the lake, down the stream, into Mahwah and Ramapo River systems, which are watersheds for this part of New York and New Jersey," Sona Mason, of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference said.

She said social media is attracting more first-time hikers who don't know the custom of pack it in, pack it out.

"It's great it's encouraging people to come outside, but we also want people to responsibly use the trails," Heather Darley, also with the NYNJ Trail Conference, added.

"Well it makes it ugly. I don't want to hike up there and see trash," hiker Marilyn Piscitelli said. "When I walk up there now, I bring a bag and I'm picking up litter."

But even the occasional Good Samaritans can't keep up.

"We need supervision. If there's supervision, people are going to think twice about doing something they know they shouldn't be doing," Piscitelli said.

The director of the Palisades Park Commission told CBS2 rangers pick up trash in the area about two to three times per season. But the park covers about 40,000 acres and they just don't have the manpower to clean it up any more than they already do.

"This is all an area that belongs to all of us," hiker Phil Lombardo said.

Hikers are asking each other to help keep it green.

The park commission also said garbage bins and dumpsters can't be placed on the trails, because they attract animals.

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