BLM Asks Public Land Visitors to Use Caution Regarding Illegal Activities.
As the spring and summer outdoor recreation seasons get into full swing, officials from the Bureau of Land Management are asking public land visitors to be aware of illegal activities including dumping, vandalism and potentially dangerous marijuana growing operations in and around the Cow Mountain Recreation Area, Cache Creek and Cedar Roughs Wilderness Areas, Indian Valley, Knoxville, Geysers, and Berryessa Peak.
BLM officials said marijuana growing is a major concern because it poses dangers for unsuspecting public land visitors and harms water sources and other natural resources. This is of particular concern since drought conditions have made for an earlier grow season for marijuana than other years.
BLM strongly advises anyone encountering what appears to be a growing site to leave the area immediately and call the county sheriff or the nearest BLM office.
Marijuana gardens are typically located in remote areas close to water sources such as streams or springs. Indicators are plastic irrigation lines, rows or other unnatural-appearing patterns of brush clearing, and discarded fertilizer and pesticide packages.
BLM officials emphasized that people tending marijuana gardens are often armed.
Officials said marijuana growers also impact limited water sources by impounding water and contaminating it with fertilizer, which damages wildlife habitat.
Over the past several years growing operations have been discovered on public lands managed by the BLM offices in Ukiah. Working with local law enforcement agencies, BLM law enforcement rangers have eradicated growing sites and made arrests.
Additionally, illegal dumping continues to be a problem across the region, and costs thousands of tax dollars for cleanup. Dumpsites can be dangerous if they hold hazardous chemicals. The BLM encourages anyone visiting public lands to be aware of their surroundings.
For additional information or to notify law enforcement authorities of suspicious activities on public lands, please contact the BLM Ukiah Field Office at (707)468-4000.