To legally dispose of garbage near the forest, Pinecrest Transfer Station is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays this summer. The street address is 30740 Highway 108 and the phone number is (209) 965-3520. It costs $11.15 to dump one can of garbage, $22.30 to dump two cans of garbage, and $25.40 to dump a yard of garbage equal to six garbage cans. Pinecrest Transfer Station accepts mixed recycling and used motor oil free of charge. The facility does not accept bulk items such as mattresses or furniture, hazardous waste or fluorescent bulbs.

A person whose name was found in trash dumped on a forest road in the Cold Springs area has been fined $300 plus $30 for a court fee, a Stanislaus National Forest law enforcement captain said this week.

“By holding people accountable, we want to change their future decisions to make better choices,” said Patrol Capt. Heidi Rieck of the U.S. Forest Service. “However, preventing illegal dumping is preferred.”

Officer Nick Wood wrote the violation notice to one individual. Rieck declined to identify the person fined.

“It isn't appropriate to release the person's personal information,” Rieck said in response to questions.

Dave Tingey, who lives off Highway 108 in the Cold Springs area, said he was going fishing at Fraser Flat when he came across the trash pile on Aug. 5 on Forest Road 4N69, off Spring Gap Road. He reported it at the Summit Ranger Station.

The trash included mail with names and addresses of people in La Grange, between the reservoirs Don Pedro and McClure. Tingey said Tuesday he is satisfied someone has been held accountable for dumping trash in the forest.

But the fine could have been greater, Tingey said, and he has found more trash in the same area.

“It’s a start,” Tingey said. “It could be higher. I think a second offense fine is higher.”

Tingey said he’s since come across another dump site in a gulley next to the same road.

“It had materials people use to make honey oil or some other substance,” said Tingey, who has volunteer firefighting experience. “Empty butane canisters. Latex gloves. A lot of household trash. Oven degreaser in aerosol cans. Empty meat packages. An empty bleach container and a large laundry detergent box.”

Tingey said he told the Forest Service about the dump site two to three weeks ago and a ranger said it would be cleaned up.

“This one is a little more of a hazmat situation,” Tingey said. “In my opinion, it was dangerous to mess with. All those different chemicals and the latex gloves, that’s a warning sign to me. The combination of bleach, oven degreaser, laundry detergent and butane, and the empty meat containers. That’s different types of chemicals and germs you don’t want to touch.”

Rieck said federal law enforcement officers under her supervision in the Stanislaus National Forest “do a good job investigating cases.”

Scott Tangenberg, the acting Stanislaus National Forest supervisor, said trash damages everything worthwhile in the forest.

“My hope is that people treasure their public lands and take care of them,” Tangenberg said this week. “Dumping trash in the forest doesn't just trash our beautiful wild spaces. It hurts wildlife, water, and people who come to the forest specifically to escape this type of thing.”

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter @GuyMcCarthy.

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