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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Forest Service Urges Caution

Be Safe on our National Forests: What to do if you Encounter a Marijuana Cultivation Site

VALLEJO, Calif., May 06, 2009—As the summer approaches, the marijuana cultivation season will begin and it is especially important to be aware of your surroundings on national forests.

Marijuana growers will be active on the national forests from now until usually the end of October. Here are some clues that you may have come across a site:

  • The smell of marijuana especially on hot days is like a skunk.
  • Hoses or drip lines located in unusual or unexpected places.
  • A well used trail where there shouldn’t be one.
  • Voices coming from an unusual place.
  • People standing along roads without vehicles present, or in areas where loitering appears unusual.
  • Usually plantations are found in isolated locations; in rough steep terrains (typically between 500 to 5500 elevation).
  • Camps containing cooking and sleeping areas with food.
  • Small propane bottles (so the grower can avoid detection of wood smoke).
  • Fertilizer, weapons, garbage, dead animals.
  • Individuals armed with rifles out of hunting season.

As soon as you become aware that you have entered a cultivation site, or have encountered any of the above listed situations, immediately reduce the threat by removing yourself from the area. Walk, crawl or run out the way you came in and make as little noise as possible. The growers may be present, and may or may not know that you have found their operation.

As soon as possible, contact your nearest Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer or Deputy and report as much detail about the incident as you can recall. Please contact Acting Special Agent in Charge, Laura Mark at (707) 562-8648 for more information.

Over seven million plants have been seized off California National Forest System lands since 2003.





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