Visitors try to furnish a national park – and officials are furious

·2 min read

The large sofa set afforded a wonderful ocean view, but to the National Park Service the furniture staged inside a vast Southern California wilderness area represented a blight on the landscape.

“To the folks who left the six-piece sectional sofa set up with a view overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Deer Creek: This land IS your land (but it’s not your living room)! It’s a living space for all wildlife and visiting people,” reads a statement by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

“It took some human muscle, hand carts, and two trucks for five federal employees to haul the furniture from National Park Service property. The cigarette butts, beer cans and bottles that were strewn around were enough to fill two garbage bags, too.”

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The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is one of the world’s largest urban national parks, encompassing five area codes and 26 zip codes. The mountains extend east-to-west 40 miles from the Los Angeles community of Hollywood Hills to Pt. Mugu in Ventura County.

Littering and graffiti are problematic issues, but for the most part visitors are respectful of the natural wonders within a wilderness that’s representative of what Southern California looked like before urban development.

A Facebook post about the sofa set inspired more than 250 comments, including expressions of gratitude toward the Park Service.

“Thank you for taking that eyesore out,” one comment reads. “The cleanup you had to do was unfortunate… and cigarette butts… with the devastating fires we’ve had: WHY people, WHY?”

Another comment: “Thanks for cleaning this up, it is a constant problem at Tahoe. Trash, graffiti, using masks for TP and leaving for someone else to clean up. Very inconsiderate, very irresponsible. Sad it is happening in the Santa Monica mountains, too.”

The Facebook post, signed by the “The park rangers of the Santa Monica Mountains,” concludes with a plea aimed at future visitors: “Please consider your actions and don’t litter! This was a waste of resources and time.”

–Images courtesy of NPS/Denise Foerster and Preston DeCorte