Law enforcement investigated the campsite and found a trailer, several cars, an unattended campfire and extensive garbage scattered throughout the site. Photo: USFS

JACKSON, Wyo. — The federal court in Jackson recently found a man guilty of three misdemeanor citations related to long-term camping on lands managed by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, announced the Forest Service today, Nov. 3.

In August of 2021, the United States Forest Service received multiple complaints from the public concerning a long-term campsite in Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Law enforcement investigated the complaints and found an unattended campfire, several dilapidated vehicles, trailer homes and extensive garbage scattered throughout the area. “The trailers were parked haphazardly throughout the trees and brush, causing extensive resource damage,” said Rayce Angell, USFS Patrol Captain.

Items found at the campsite. Photo: USFS

USFS officers were able to contact an adult male at the campsite, who admitted to living on the forest and acknowledge all the items were his. Three federal citations were issued. Two weeks later, the officers came across the same male at a different location. The individual acknowledged that he was continuing to live off the forest and was trying to sell his belongings. The officer issued additional federal citations to the man.

In October the federal court in Jackson found the male adult guilty of three misdemeanor citations: residing on forest lands, leaving a campfire unattended, and leaving a campsite in unsanitary conditions.

The individual was banned from being on or engaging in any activity on both Caribou Targhee National Forest and Bridger Teton National Forest for five years. The individual was also placed on probation for a length of five years and fined a sum of $800.00. Federal violations are pending for an adult female who was with the male at one of the campsites.

While this situation may illuminate the larger housing issue in the region, it is illegal to permanently reside on National Forest lands.

“Taking up residence on national forest system lands and/or facilities is illegal. Permanent camping creates a variety of issues for forest officials who seek to balance public access and resource conservation. Disposal of waste, trash and other environmental concerns associated with more permanent residences affects all public land users,” said the Forest Service in the press release.

The USFS urges individuals to continue to report any suspicious or illegal activity on their public lands, said the press release.

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Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.