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State Park In Santa Cruz Needs Clean Up After Illegal Dumping

SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) -- An illegal dumpsite at Wilder Ranch State Park that has accumulated more than 250 discarded tires will be cleaned up in about five weeks, according state park officials.

The site, located just near the intersection of Empire Grade Road and Felton Quarry Road in Bonny Doon, has been the site of dumping for months, according to neighbors. The activity likely went undetected because it occurred several yards off the road, in an area obscured by vegetation.

"It saddens our whole department and the public as well. It's unfortunate that this does happen, but we need to come to terms with it and clean it up as soon as possible," said Gabriel McKenna, Public Safety Superintendent for the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks.

About 250 tires are strewn about an area roughly the size of tennis court. Also littered among the debris were a washing machine, a vacuum cleaner, a laptop computer and an abandoned 25-foot camper trailer. There was also clothing and bedding debris that suggested a homeless encampment was there at some point.

The dumpsite is located on the quieter northern end of the 7,000 acre park.

"We have a lot of property, and there's a lot of porous borders. It's an attractive area because it's not a main entrance number one, it's not heavily patrolled. So people have taken advantage of access points where we aren't normally there," said McKenna.

There is no gate across the access road; only a thick wire dangling loosely from a metal post. Pickup or dump truck can easily back in and unload debris out of view from the road. McKenna says the department will likely construct an earthen berm to keep trespassers out.

Crews and heavy equipment are scheduled to clean up the area November 11.

"We're extremely busy. We take these situations very seriously. But we also have a lot of priorities within this district. This is a priority. It's after our busy summer season and we're going to address this as soon as possible," said McKenna, "It likely will happen again, unfortunately. We just need to try and stay as proactive as possible and preventing it from getting to this extent."

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