HOT SPRINGS, Ark – Hot Springs National Park Rangers say locals and visitors need to be better about keeping the park clean.
Park rangers say they have seen an increase in the amount of trash being left behind since the summer started.
“It’s something that we’re consistently dealing with,” said Hot Springs National Park Ranger Ashley Waymouth. “Plastic wrappers, cigarette butts, or bigger pieces of trash like water bottles, or dog waste.”
The Hot Springs National Park posted a photo just last week showing a bag filled with dog waste left on the porch of a historical bathhouse downtown.
“It’s disappointing, it’s angering,” said Hot Springs visitor Jennifer Wilt.
Wilt is visiting Hot Springs this week as part of her National Park tour.
“We decided since we were moving anyway, might as well make it a road trip and see everything along the way,” said Wilt.
Last year Wilt visited 26 national parks. This year, she’ll see 13. She says trash is a problem everywhere.
“It’s a lot of little stuff like straw wrappers, cups, pop cans,” said Wilt. “You can take a trash bag with you, and you would get a whole bag on your way out.”
Waymouth says trash impacts everyone, including the wildlife who call Hot Springs National Park home.
“We could do so much better,” said Waymouth.
She says it will be up to everyone to make the change.
“If park staff have to spend a lot of time cleaning up trash and waste, that’s a waste of our time and it’s not really a good use of taxpayer dollars,” said Waymouth.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, fines for littering range anywhere from $100 to $5,000.
The Hot Springs National Park is having a park clean-up Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Rangers encourage anyone who wants to volunteer to contact the Hot Springs Visitor Center.