Flathead Valley residents upset over large litter pile
COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. —
People are outraged over a huge trash pile dumped along the side of Highway 486 on the way to the North Fork.
"It was just bad. There was a toilet, a refrigerator, a freezer, and let's talk about the refrigerator and freezer not having the doors off either," said Flathead Valley resident Marsha Kile.
Kile and her husband frequently pick up trash along the highway.
"We pick up litter all the time," Kile told NBC Montana.
The amount of trash dumped at once was something she has not seen.
"I couldn't believe -- it still makes me want to cry,” Kile said. “I mean like, who does that?"
Kile posted to Facebook about the problem on Tuesday. As of Thursday the post has been shared 276 times. The community reacted to the pictures. They were appalled and disgusted.
Kile told NBC Montana a community member even put up a $100 reward for anyone who caught the litterer.
"I can't tell you how that made me feel to know that people really do care," said Kile.
Thanks to one community member only the couch and a tire were left from the huge pile.
"Brian Henderson picked up on it and came and cleaned everything up but this couch,” Kile told NBC Montana. “I can't even tell you how appreciated he is."
The sheriff's department is currently investigating the trash pile. They say they can find the culprit about half the time, but sometimes it can be hard to identify just from the trash who left it.
"It had become more of an issue all the time, and unfortunately it’s larger items like couches and refrigerators," said Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Leib.
Kile thinks a host of problems cause people to litter, but one big one is the dump not keeping up with the growth of the valley.
"We've boomed, and it hasn't,” said Kile. “We need a bigger one, we need longer hours, we need something."
Leib told NBC Montana they need the community’s help to catch litterers, and he encourages anyone who sees someone dumping trash to call the sheriff's office.