Trisha Janes maneuvered her noisy bio-diesel pick up along a narrow fire road on Bureau of Land Management land. Tree limbs scratched the sides of the vehicle as she bumped along to a spot where fresh tracks were visible in the mud.
"This is a new pile right here," said Janes, pointing out a mountain of trash near a stand of manzanita bushes. "These are new tire marks from this weekend."
Items such as a broken hot tub, barn red decking, end tables, a futon frame, rusted woodstove, smashed microwave, bed springs and a smashed glass aquarium were heaped with discarded ice cream containers and medicated foot powder.
The roar of Rock Creek could be heard in the canyon just 100 yards away.
Janes was walking her dogs last November near a secluded section of Rock Creek when she happened upon the illegal dumpsite, one of many throughout the county.
She believes it's the work of a paid trash hauler who is pocketing the dump fee money and disposing of the junk in the woods.
"This guy is a real creep," Janes said.
Janes is concerned that the trash could contain harmful chemicals that could contaminate the wells of her neighborhood.
"It's starting to get serious," said John Rapphahn, Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Bureau of Land Management of the site Janes found.
Rapphahn and one other ranger patrols the area and says there are three to four sites like it in the county.
BLM takes garbage seriously when it includes toxic materials such as paint cans or television and computer monitors which can leach into Rock Creek, a tributary to the South Yuba River, Rapphahn said.
The site is located within the 500-acre Round Mountain-Rock Creek Area owned by BLM. A blackened bon fire pit filled with beer bottle shards is evidence the area has been used as a remote place to party for a number of years.
In recent months, there has been abuse of the two-week camping permitted on BLM land and several people have had to be chased out.
Rapphahn said BLM will have the area cleaned out as soon as the roads dry up. Large boulders will be placed in front of the clearing to dissuade future dumping.
"It's a shame we have to do that," said Rapphahn.
If anyone has information on illegal dumping contact the Nevada County Illegal Dumping Hotline at 265-7111.
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4231.