By Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County residents and others across the state are being reminded that when it comes to spring cleaning public land is not a trash can.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says spring is a popular time to declutter, clean and organize but unfortunately, many people discard items they no longer need and/or their trash on state-managed land, along the road or even on another person’s private property.

Dumping old mattresses, tires or televisions or throwing a bag of fast food out the window while driving is illegal – and something DNR conservation officers are said to take very seriously. People are being reminded to always dispose of waste properly and help keep public lands clean for everyone.

The DNR’s district law supervisor in Plainwell Lt. Gerald Thayer said spring is always a really busy time for conservation officers receiving complaints about illegal dumping. He says people don’t want to pay to get rid of their old belongings or garbage pickup, and think they’ll get away with leaving it in a rural area. Thayer added that there are all kinds of ways conservation officers can track garbage – whether it’s a piece of mail, a receipt or a barcode.

The MDNR reminds that people can dispose of discarded items and garbage at local landfills, trash and recycling drop-off centers or find disposal sites in local areas. Many Livingston County communities offer a free spring cleanup event and residents can check with their local township for possible days and times. When hiring a waste hauler, officials say people should ask for landfill receipts to ensure that trash is being disposed of responsibly.

If anyone happens to come across discarded items or garbage on state-managed public land, they are asked to immediately call or text the Report All Poaching hotline 1-800-292-7800.