College students come to Northern California’s Shasta Lake all the time, said Phyllis Swanson, a spokeswoman for Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Some were at Slaughterhouse Island on Shasta Lake last weekend. Swanson estimated that about 1,000 people were there, and some 60 houseboats.
This particular weekend stands out, though. Because, well … I’ll let Swanson explain it in her own words.
“They’ve been coming for years,” Swanson told The Post in a phone interview Wednesday. “We’ve just never seen it to this extreme.”
She’s talking about the garbage that was left behind — remnants of a party weekend, left for crews to pick up.
“For 20 years, we’ve been dealing with this,” Swanson said. “And there’s always that overabundance of party trash. But nothing like this.”
According to Swanson, here’s what crews discovered on Slaughterhouse Island:
• almost 100 tents
• sleeping bags
“You don’t want to know that,” Swanson said, when asked her first thought, upon seeing the trash. “I was very disappointed. Very disappointed that our young adults — that are going to be our leaders — would do something like this.”
Photos of the site, which were shared on social media, showed University of Oregon-branded flip flops and an Oregon bag, though the Oregonian reported that the weekend’s party was “not specific” to University of Oregon students.
Still, the school issued a statement from Robin Holmes, vice president for student life, calling the way in which the area was left “disgraceful.”
“Trips to this area have become an annual event for fraternities and sororities all along the West Coast,” Holmes said in the statement. “It is one the University of Oregon does not sponsor or condone in any way.”
The statement noted that the university was “actively investigating” the mess and would “take action as appropriate.”
“We are working with authorities to learn all we can and determine who is responsible,” it continued.
The lake — one of California’s largest — is a five-hour drive south of the Eugene, Ore., college campus and about four hours north of San Francisco.
“It was just thrown all across a half-mile span of the island,” Swanson said. “And to me, it was almost as if something just scooped ’em up out of the sky and just left.”
Also implicated in the situation was the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity; one picture from the site showed a cooler that displayed the frat’s Greek letters.
“The Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity is guided by seven core values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Service & Stewardship, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage,” the frat’s Zeta Omicron Zeta chapter said in a statement. “Unfortunately the individuals who committed the destruction at Lake Shasta recently seen on social media did not uphold these values. We are partnering with the University of Oregon, and the International Headquarters of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, to investigate this situation.
“We will, in no uncertain terms, hold the individuals who did this accountable.”
The statement continued: “Though it is not known who all was involved at this time, we find this situation to be absolutely unacceptable. On behalf of any of our members involved, the UO Zeta Omicron Zeta Chapter would like to extend our deepest apologies for any destruction of Lake Shasta resort and the surrounding environment.”
The fraternity also has gotten in touch with the U.S. Forest Service to assist with the cleanup effort, the statement noted.
“Until the investigation into this matter is complete, and all disciplinary actions have been implemented, effective immediately there will be no Chapter activities of any kind,” it said. “We are taking this seriously and are working to come through this showing our alumni, our university, and our community exactly what it means to be a Lambda Chi Alpha Brother.”
Swanson said crews spent days cleaning up the mess, though something positive did come out of it. She said she has been getting calls from students wanting to make amends, and others with plans to visit the lake, who are promising to do better.
“Hopefully in the future, from here on out, things will be better,” she said.
And you can see a couple more pictures of the garbage below:
This post has been updated.