Mt. Laguna 'Overwhelmed' With Trash After Busy, Snowy Weekend - NBC 7 San Diego

Mt. Laguna 'Overwhelmed' With Trash After Busy, Snowy Weekend

Lots of freshly-fallen snow brought large crowds to Mt. Laguna over the weekend - and lots of trash

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    Mt. Laguna 'Overwhelmed' With Trash After Busy, Snowy Weekend
    U.S. Forest Service, Cleveland National Forest
    Rangers say an "overwhelming" amount of trash was left behind by visitors on Mt.Laguna last weekend after the first heavy snowfall of the season drew massive crowds to the tiny mountain town.

    After days of powerful El Niño storms, San Diegans flocked to Mt. Laguna last weekend to play in freshly-fallen snow, but the massive crowds left behind so much trash, rangers are still cleaning up the mess.

    On Thursday, U.S. National Forest Service officials said cleanup crews in the Cleveland National Forest region were “overwhelmed” with work following the influx of visitors to the Mt. Laguna area after the first big snowfall of the season.

    Rangers say an "overwhelming" amount of trash was left behind by visitors on Mt.Laguna last weekend after the first heavy snowfall of the season drew massive crowds to the tiny mountain town.
    Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service, Cleveland National Forest
    “Three days after the weekend calamity, Forest Service employees from the Descanso Ranger District continue to mend the aftermath, hauling out truckloads of trash and broken equipment,” officials said in a press release.

    With the more El Niño storms in the forecast, Mt. Laguna will likely see its fair share of heavy snow and, subsequently, more large crowds in the weeks ahead.
    Families Flock to Snowy MountainsFamilies Flock to Snowy Mountains

    With local mountains covered in freshly-fallen snow, many San Diego families are making the trek to Mount Laguna and Pine Valley to play in the snow. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala reports.
    (Published Friday, Jan. 8, 2016)

    U.S. Forest Service officials want to encourage visitors to abide by a “pack out” what they “pack in” code. By hauling out everything that’s brought into the tiny mountain community, the amount of trash left behind on Mt. Laguna can be significantly reduced.

    “Simple things like food wrappers or broken sleds amount up to a lot when left behind. If trash receptacles are full, we ask that the public pack items and throw them away down the mountain. If each family does their part it can make a huge difference in the outcome," said District Ranger Julie Hall.

    Rangers say an "overwhelming" amount of trash was left behind by visitors on Mt.Laguna last weekend after the first heavy snowfall of the season drew massive crowds to the tiny mountain town.
    Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service, Cleveland National Forest
    “We want to be able to accommodate these large crowds and encourage people to come visit, but managing the aftermath is extremely difficult," she added. "We are asking the public for their help and support."

    The U.S. Forest Service said budget and staffing constraints, coupled with the loss of temporary employees in the winter, makes it difficult to manage larger crowds in the Cleveland National Forest.
    This past weekend, for example, rangers had to request help from California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers to aid in traffic control.

    Hamster Enjoys Mount Laguna SnowHamster Enjoys Mount Laguna Snow

    As snow covered San Diego's mountains, including Mount Laguna, a hamster named "Dory" had her very own snow day, playing in the freshly fallen snow.
    (Published Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016)
    Much like this past weekend, Mt. Laguna visitors should brace for heavy traffic and long waits when heading to the snowy mountains.

    Over the weekend, traffic wait times reached as long as three hours from Interstate 8 up Sunrise Highway to the peak as visitors tried to get to the Mt. Laguna snow.

    As delays persisted and traffic backed up for miles, officials temporarily closed and restricted access to both Old Highway 80 and Sunrise Highway. On Sunday, the highway was reopened, but with restrictions, due to congestion at the peak.
    Snow Falls in San Diego MountainsSnow Falls in San Diego Mountains

    As strong storms plow San Diego County, snow is falling in Mount Laguna and Pine Valley. The Mountain Empire Unified School District has declared a snow day and closed schools for Jan. 7. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports.
    (Published Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016)

    When visiting mountain communities, including Mt. Laguna, forest officials want to remind drivers to pay attention to posted signs and avoid trespassing or parking on private property.