Forest Service hunts for Chimney Rock vandals

STATELINE -- Vandalism at a Lake Tahoe East Shore beach and popular party spot has the U.S. Forest Service again asking the public for help to combat the problem.

Residents answered the call this summer by helping cart away broken glass and garbage from Chimney Beach, off State Route 28 between Spooner Summit and Incline Village.

But the garbage problem has persisted, and vandalism has escalated from graffiti to the felling of a 15-foot pine.

"I just discovered it a couple of days ago," said Suzy LaGrandeur, the agency's wilderness and dispersed-areas manager. "I have no idea why they did it. We don't know if was a bunch of yahoos out there with a little ax, or what."

If vandalism continues, the USFS will look to solve the problem with stricter rules that could include limiting access, LaGrandeur said.

"What we're realizing is that it's something that is not going away," she said. "As managers of the land, we need to figure out what to do."

That could mean restricting access to the beach, issuing more tickets, or even removing the chimney, which may be inspiring illegal campfires, LaGrandeur said.

"We don't want to go to drastic controls without trying to first garner support from the community," she said. "We'd love to be alerted. We don't have all resources to be there all time."

The USFS has a "leave-no-trace" land management policy for Chimney Beach, the same as for a places like the Desolation Wilderness.

That means campfires are illegal, and everything brought in must be carried out.

-- To report vandalism, call LaGrandeur at (530) 543-2766. If you witness an ongoing act of vandalism, report it to Washoe County Sheriff's Department at (775) 832-4111.


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