How to clean up an illegal camp

EUGENE, Ore. - Contractors with heavy equipment moved in Thursday to begin a 2-week cleanup in the West Eugene Wetlands and Bertelsen Nature Park area.

After weeks of warning, enforcement action Monday and Tuesday sent the remaining campers packing.

Michael Mascari with the Bureau of Land Management said two dozen or more camps left litter all over the place.

Propane tanks, old mattresses, broken down tents, tarps, boxes, shopping carts - plus bio-hazards: heaps of dirty needles and syringes galore greeted cleanup crews at one camp.

Mascari said they hope to have trash out no later than August 14.

Then begins two weeks of habitat rehabilitation work. Foliage will be thinned to reduce the risk of fire, invasive plants will be removed and work will begin to restore wetlands to natural conditions.

All oaks, cherry and other trees more than 24 inches in diameter will be left.

After that, BLM ranger patrols will have to be stepped up, Mascari said to keep campers from returning.

The land will reopen to hiking - but not camping - by the end of August, if all goes according to plan.