MURTAUGH — The Cassia County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Land Management are looking for whoever has dumped dead animals and trash at the Milner Historic Recreation Area.
Vandals have also marked rock formations and structures with graffiti in the area nine miles west of Burley,
“People don’t want to go to the Milner area to experience graffiti on rocks,” said Kelsey Brizendine, spokeswoman for the BLM. “It affects everyone who uses the area. Everyone that sees it is impacted. It’s really unfortunate that one or two people or even a group can take away, alter or damage that experience.”
Cassia County Undersheriff George Warrell said people have dumped about 30 dead calves in various stages of decomposition on the land, which includes portions of federal and private property.
People have also been using a target shooting area at the side of a hill to dump old tires and loads of trash.
Several areas along Trout Point in the recreation area have been covered in graffiti including some rocky cliffs.
“It causes various permanent damage,” said Ken Crane, a field manager for the Burley BLM office. “Some of the lichens and moss take a hundred years to grow on that rock. We have to put chemicals on the rock to remove the paint, which kills the moss. Then it’s just a rock and it loses those unique properties.”
Then those chemicals, he said, remain at the site.
The vandals also sprayed graffiti on some of the bathrooms last winter, and they were vandalized again in the last couple of weeks. Someone also used spray paint to deface some county and federal lands signs.
It takes extensive labor to remove the paint and the chemicals used to remove paint from the signs takes off the reflective surface, which means the signs will have to be replaced.
“It’s a cost to the taxpayers,” Crane said.
Warrell said the dumping has been going on for years, and the jail crew has been used to clean it up before, but people keep bringing more trash.
“We are going beef up patrol in the area,” Warrell said.
The recreation area contains pieces of the pioneer Oregon Trail, marked by deep ruts. The area has developed and primitive recreation sites along four-miles of Snake River shoreline.
The area’s basalt cliffs, sagebrush and grassland are a year-round draw for waterfowl and songbirds.