IE mountain communities concerned about influx of visitors

Inland Empire mountain communities like Lytle Creek are seeing a rush of visitors who are clogging up streets and not practicing social distancing.
LYTLE CREEK, Calif. (KABC) -- With the nice weather and several weeks of staying at home, people are anxious to get outside.

And they're heading up to the mountains in droves.

That has residents concerned in communities like Lytle Creek, where narrow roads are jammed with visitors' cars.

"We're trying to keep our community healthy and they're down there just whooping it up," said resident Cindee Smith.

The main route into town is lined with cars parked along the side of the road some days, residents say, making access difficult if rescue crews or firefighters have to move through the area in a hurry.

And many visitors aren't wearing masks or practicing social distancing, locals say. They're also leaving trash behind.

Residents have turned to the county and state for help, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, which manages recreation areas in the San Bernardino National Forest.

"This problem has been going on for a couple months since this virus," said Lytle Creek resident Cheryl Anaya. "No one's working. So where can they go? Where can they not get patrolled. They can do whatever they want. That's what's been going on."

The Forest Service says it is aware of the problem and is working on plans to control the crowds, but those plans require a public comment process so they may take time to be implemented.

In the meantime, the CHP and Forest Service say they'll patrol the area over the Memorial Day weekend to enforce parking rules and make sure visitors are respectful of private property.
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