CREATED Oct. 11, 2013
VISTA POINT - One of the most popular and scenic areas in the Valley has a littering problem, according to the California's Department of Transportation maintenance division.
The area surrounding Vista Point on Highway 74 usually has trash lying everywhere, even though there's a big sign at the entrance that reads "No Littering."
"It's a shame because you get a lot of families and a lot of people from out of town. Tourists especially come up here during the day to come enjoy it, and they don't want their kids seeing beer bottles or butts everywhere," expressed Kenny Escobedo, who has lived in the Valley for 20 years.
The problem is a constant one for the maintenance crews.
"We've run into situation where we have to clean up hygienically," said Shelli Lombardo, a Public Information Officer for Caltrans.
She added that sometimes the items found at Vista Point are hazardous like broken glass.
"They come out here to clean and they have to gear up for biohazards to do the cleaning," said Lombardo, "Our crews are generally here once a week cleaning this particular area."
Besides littering, Caltrans is battling another problem- vandalism.
"We have to come in and paint over the graffitti," explained Lombardo, "When it's so offensive that we don't want the public to see it, we'll paint it over."
Some of the rocks have also been stolen from the walls, but these Lombardo said, have not been replaced. There is no program for that as of yet.
The clean-up effort isn't inexpensive, costing taxpayers a lot of dollars.
In 2012, Caltrans spent $3 million dollars to clean up debris in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including at Vista Point and $52 million dollars was spent in California.
"There's an old saying 'stash your trash' and that's what we're asking, stash your trash," said Lombardo.
Some locals, including Escobedo, believe the littering problem has gotten much better over the years.
"We reached a point when it was the worst. It's been better lately," said Escobe, "There's not as much trash up here."