As part of Team Shasta's effort to provide safe environments for community members and visitors, an Aug. 26 law enforcement sweep in Mount Shasta found six illegal campsites, one of which was occupied.

As part of Team Shasta’s effort to provide safe environments for community members and visitors, a law enforcement sweep was conducted Friday evening, Aug. 26, with the dual goal of locating illegal activity and education about laws and city ordinances.

Mt. Shasta Police Lieutenant Joe Restine said 22 officers and volunteers from eight agencies went to 10 locations during the sweep, which started at the city park.

They located six illegal campsites, issued a citation for illegal camping and a citation for smoking marijuana in public, according to Restine.

The sweep included representatives of Mt. Shasta Police and Fire departments, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the US Forest Service, California Highway Patrol, CAL FIRE, the Sheriff’s Department, and Sheriff’s Posse.

The goal, as stated by Restine prior to the start of the sweep, was “locating illegal activity and putting pressure on those who may not have the community’s best interest at heart.”

The sweep was held mostly on public lands and only on private property with the permission of the property owners, Restine said.

It was conducted one day after the fire that began in an illegal campsite near the trail between Kingston Road and Mt. Shasta City Park. A transient was arrested for arson in connection with the fire, which was contained at less than an acre thanks to propitious conditions, especially the lack of wind and its direction.

The sweep had been in the works for several weeks, according to Restine, who said the previous day’s fire “could have been catastrophic if the wind had been blowing in a different direction.”

Sweeps were conducted at the city park, Spring Hill, behind KOA, the north end of Cedar Road, across I-5 on the south side of Lake Street, behind the Forest Service offices, Sisson Meadow, on both sides of the street at The Landing, and behind Ray’s Food Place.

Five Sherriff’s Posse volunteers did the sweep on horseback, which Restine said gave them an advantageous perspective from a higher angle.

Three other Posse volunteers rode on ATVs.

Restine said return visits will be made to the illegal campsites that were unoccupied at the time of the sweep. He said the overall goal is education, but if someone is cited and then violates the citation, they can be arrested for an infraction.

For the most part, those who were contacted during the sweep “were positive about what we did and why we did it,” Restine said.

The problem with illegal campsites is widespread in the Mt. Shasta area. Restine said stolen property has been found in the past at such sites, along with trash and human waste.

About Team Shasta

Team Shasta is a collaborative partnership of local organizations, city government, service providers, public safety agencies, businesses and citizens who came together this year in an attempt to address quality of life issues in the Mount Shasta community.

During a workshop in early July, Team Shasta created four key initiatives and top actions on how to begin to accomplish those initiatives.

The list included:

• Providing safe environments for community members and visitors;

• Creating a public engagement and outreach process around homeless and transient populations;

• Providing local homeless services including emergency services, and

• Improving behavioral health (mental and substance abuse conditions) services for local homeless populations.

Team Shasta stated its broader mission as: “to work collaboratively to inspire communication, planning, and the marshalling of resources to improve the quality of life for our communities and visitors.”