Sheriff’s officials are investigating evidence collected last week at a popular Whatcom County park where a load of trash was dumped, sparking considerable public outrage.
“We do have our neighborhood patrol deputy working on it,” Undersheriff Jeff Parks said Monday. “We have some names that we’re working on.”
Household-type garbage described as enough to fill the bed of a pickup was dumped Wednesday in the parking lot at Stimpson Family Nature Reserve, said Michael McFarlane, director of the Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department.
Parks crews took phone calls about the incident Wednesday morning and workers removed the trash, McFarlane said. Comments of shock and indignation spread across social media among local residents.
Stimpson features more than 4 miles of hiking trails through forest and wetlands of mostly second-growth cedar, fir and hemlock.
It’s among Whatcom County’s most beloved nature areas, and its parking lot is typically full on weekends and other peak times.
Parks said such illegal dumping typically results in a civil infraction, similar to a traffic citation. The suspect usually is ordered to appear in court and could be fined.
“The burden of proof would be upon the defendant to show by preponderance of evidence that their litter had been deposited without their knowledge,” Parks said.
Fines for illegal dumping range from $25 to $1,000, according to Whatcom County ordinances and corresponding state law.
Parks said at least two pieces of identifying material must be obtained to issue a citation, and workers who cleaned the site provided sheriff’s officials with documents found in the dumped trash that meet that requirement.