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Miles City Field Office
Release Date: 04/28/10
Contacts: Contact Mark Jacobsen 406-233-2831    

BLM Seeks Information on Recent Vandalism

The BLM Miles City Field Office is seeking information regarding recent acts of vandalism at two local BLM recreation areas near Miles City.

Vandals were responsible for a string of firearm-related acts of destruction on BLM signs and fencing brace posts, as well as littering, cutting fences and driving off established roads onto soft ground at the Strawberry Hill Recreation Area and at Dean S. Reservoir; both located east of Miles City near the Pine Hills.

The BLM has limited staff, time and funding available to devote to repairing destroyed public infrastructure; resources that would be better used to enhance other public lands projects. Each year, vandalism causes thousands of dollars worth of damage and destruction and repairs are paid for with tax dollars.

"I will never understand why some people want to destroy their public lands," said BLM Miles City Field Manager Debbie Johnson. "It takes taxpayer’s money to replace infrastructure and the results of vandalism ruins it for a lot of other public land users."

"If the trend of vandalism continues to increase –as we are seeing—we may be forced to close areas and the public may lose their ability to recreate and continue to use their public lands," said Johnson. "We can’t afford, nor should we continue to tolerate this abuse."

Punishment for those convicted of destruction of federal property may include fines of up to $100,000 and-or up to one year imprisonment. And that’s not all, says Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Ryan Karren.

Montana Code 87-2-112 states that "A holder of a Montana resident or nonresident fishing of hunting license or camping permit convicted of littering campgrounds, public or private lands, streams or lakes while hunting, fishing or camping shall forfeit the license and privilege to hunt, fish, camp, or trap within Montana for a period of 1 year from the date of conviction."

"That’s any form of littering," said Karren. "Carcasses are under the littering code."

People need to be aware of dumping and other destructive acts on federal, state and private lands and when they see it happening, they need to take notice, he said.

"If people see littering --people chucking stuff—call us. All we need is a license plate and a witness statement," Karren said. "Leave the trash in place and we’ll get some photos of it."

Karren cited an incident where partiers were cited for littering at Pirogue Island State Park and identified by their personal information left behind in their garbage.

"We’re stepping up our patrols on party nights and we’re going to be out there. If they’re caught shooting signs or shooting buildings we’re going to prosecute them to the fullest extent that we can," he said. "I mean, everybody hates littering, especially judges and county attorneys. We don’t have any problem in getting it prosecuted."

The public is needed to help reduce vandalism by immediately reporting any illegal activities o the BLM, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks or the local sheriff by calling 233-2800 or 1-800-TIP-MONT.

Key information needed is: the date, time, location, license plate number and a description of the vehicles and persons involved. The BLM cautions the public to not get involved by approaching violators. The identity of anyone providing information will remain confidential.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Miles City Field Office   111 Garryowen Road      Miles City, MT 59301  

Last updated: 06-28-2012