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Pot shots.

Not too many years ago, the New River area of northern California's Shasta and Trinity National Forests was described a the state's most lawless rural area. Shootings, arson, and physical violence were commonplace. In the early 1980s the situation, aggravated primarily through illegal growing of marijuana, reached the point where the Forest Service was forced to withdraw and virtually cease management of those remote lands. Public use of the area became almost nonexistent.

By the mid-1980s, the forest supervisor and the county sheriff joined in a recognition that the situation was fast becoming intolerable. They decided to work together to make the national forest lands once again safe for the public.

Key to the success of the partnership was maintaining a continual presence of both agencies throughout the area. Armed deputy sheriffs and Forest Service special agents stationed near the tiny community of i Denny regularly patrolled the entire New River drainage. Emphasis was on discouraging growers from planting rather than seizing the mature plants-the latter situation being riskier for law-enforcement officers because of the high value of the full-grown plants.

The partnership eventually accomplished what it set out to do, with the help of the local media, which had expressed strong support. Said one editorial: "Three cheers for the Trinity County sheriff's department, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and their plans to try to return the ruggedly beautiful New River surrounding Denny to the public."
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Title Annotation:Focus: Partners for the Land; preventing marijuana growing, Shasta-Trinity National Forests, California
Author:Mannion, Royal
Publication:American Forests
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Words:235
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