It’s not anyone’s imagination — Rim Country teems with visitors blowing off pent up energy from COVID-19 restrictions.
“The weekend traffic is something we’re trying to get under control, but it’s been a little chaotic these past couple of weeks,” said Payson’s Police Chief Ron Tischer. “People are absolutely driving crazy.”
While residents might appreciate the sales tax visitors generate, they don’t appreciate all the trash and waste left behind.
The problem is amplified this year because the Forest Service closed restroom facilities and “postponed” trash collection at developed recreation sites.
Local businesses in Payson and Star Valley are struggling with lengthy lines to their restrooms and overflowing trash bins.
The Gila County supervisors heard their cry.
“I want those folk’s business, but not their bugs,” said Supervisor Tommie Martin.
The county has rented a slew of portable toilets (with hand washing stations) from Little Stinker Septic Service and Quality Pumping and volunteered its own dumpsters. The towns of Payson and Star Valley have designated two sites as dumping stations. The restrooms and trash dump stations will be open every week from noon Friday through noon Monday.
“Hopefully, the dumpsters and port-a-johns that were placed at the event center and in Star Valley will help alleviate some of the people stopping in town to use the restrooms wherever they can,” said Tischer.
Martin explained signs direct visitors to the impromptu rest areas.
Along Highway 87, there is a sign directing visitors to the event center where there are trash bins and bathrooms.
As Highway 260 enters Star Valley from the west, the county set up a sign at its yard. The rest area setup is east of Steve Coury Ford.
Martin plans on keeping the rest areas open all summer, but “it will depend on the community.”
“I hope they help honor what’s trying to happen here — let us be the least impacted by visitors as possible,” she said. “Dollar dump days will return to the landfill as soon as the state opens back up.”