Legalized pot in many U.S. states has dope lovers happy, but the U.S. Forest Service isn’t pleased. Lots of people want in on the action but they’re doing it by creating illegal pot grows on public lands. Not only do these grows create environmental catastrophes, but if you go camping near an illegal marijuana grow, your safety is at risk.
Camping near an illegal marijuana grow isn’t always so obvious.
Every year thousands of impromptu marijuana farms are discovered on public lands, including national forests and popular natural attractions like Yosemite. Some grows are very remote but every year many campers and RVers inadvertently go camping near an illegal marijuana grow without even realizing it. Each year, more and more hikers and campers accidentally stumble upon these grows only to be met by armed guards hired by drug cartels.
When illegal grows are discovered, the environmental damage is huge. These growers:
- Destroy the landscape by cutting trees and vegetation
- Use tons of toxic chemicals and fertilizers that pollute water, land and wildlife
- Erode rivers and natural water sources by creating ditches and dams for watering
- Leave behind heaps of toxic trash, garbage and human waste
- Set land mines and other crude explosive devices to protect their crops
Illegally grown pot is not eco-friendly.
If you enjoy taking your RV to remote places on any of the 193 million acres of US Forest Service land, be very aware of your surroundings when you camp and go hiking, especially if you’re alone.
What To Do If You Go Camping Near an Illegal Marijuana Grow
According to AmericanTrails.org, these tell-tale signs of illegal marijuana grows on public lands will let you know if you need to turn the key and leave:
- “Sometimes marijuana smells like a skunk on hot days.
- Hoses or drip lines located in unusual or unexpected places.
- A well-used trail where there shouldn’t be one.
- People standing along roads without vehicles present, or in areas where loitering appears unusual.
- Grow sites are usually found in isolated locations, in rough steep terrain.
- Camps containing cooking and sleeping areas with food, fertilizer, weapons, garbage, rat poison, and/or dead animals.
- Small propane bottles, used to avoid the detection of wood smoke.
- Individuals armed with rifles out of hunting season.”
An illegal marijuana grow camp site.
If you run into an area like this, quietly get out without looking back. Don’t talk to anyone you see in the area, and report as much detail as possible (notable landmarks and GPS coordinates are helpful) to the local Forest Service station or local police. Then go find a full-hookup RV campground and breathe!