Winter Storm Watch issued for West Michigan for Sunday

Trail cams catch teen drug and alcohol use at Blandford Nature Center

WALKER, Mich. -- As summer vacation approaches, the Walker Police Department is warning parents to keep a close eye on where their kids are hanging out.

The warning comes after some recent incidents at Blandford Nature Center.  The center put up some trail cameras after finding drugs, illegal bonfires and trash left behind in the woods.  They found out who was behind it, and are now doing their best to make sure it doesn't keep happening.

“It's on our hot sheet, so every shift that comes in they receive a hot sheet that shows different areas of tension around the city and this is on there right now," said Walker Police Officer Mitch Harkema.

Officials say that lately, some teenagers have been hanging out in the woods, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.  It's been happening so frequently, that they decided to post a warning on social media. 

"They were leaving a lot of litter," Harkema said. "The first time I came out here we picked up well over 20 pints of Fireball whiskey, different cans and bottles, just miscellaneous litter."

They caught it all on trail cameras that were set up by the nature center.

"We saw the glass pipes, the glass bongs," Harkema said. "It looked like some of them were even passing a joint back and forth, and then you can see a bit of the underage drinking as well."

Another issue at the center: Hammocking in unapproved areas and damaging trees.  It's also a hazard, since the trees could fall and injure those nearby.

Harkema says there are also bonfires in the area, which are a big wildfire risk as the days get hotter.

"There's a lot of houses that perimeter the nature center and wildfires spread very quickly and we don't want that to happen," he said.

A group of about 10 people were identified in the trail camera photos.  All of them have been disciplined, but none of them were criminally charged.

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