Someone has been dumping trash and yard waste at the Nanticoke Wildlife Area near Laurel, and state environmental officials have had enough.

Over the past few months, people have been dumping trash, furniture, appliances, scrap tires and yard waste at the 4,415-acre Nanticoke Wildlife Area.  Now, state leaders are asking for the public's help in protecting the wildlife area.

"As stewards of this land for Delaware, we cannot allow a few people who do not respect this mission to ruin things for the many who do," said David Saveikis, director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.  "The Division of Fish and Wildlife's mission is to protect and conserve these areas for future generations."

But the damage goes beyond just dumped trash.  Someone has damaged access roads with vehicles and have smashed the area's access gates.  There's also been graffiti sprayed on wildlife area signs.  

Perhaps the worst instance of vandalism happened in April when an 8-foot tall granite monument honoring Captain John Smith's 1608 expedition to the area.  The monument was pulled off its base at Phillips Landing, causing $2,500 in damage.  Fish and Wildlife Enforcement agents were able to make four arrests in connection with that incident.

For some reason, the Nanticoke Wildlife Area has become a magnet for vandalism.  "Most visitors to the Nanticoke Wildlife Area and Phillips Landing treat this beautiful area with respect," said Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Chief James Graybeal.  "However, this area also seems to be a popular target for vandalism and criminal mischief by a few who would spoil the enjoyment for others.  To anyone considering actions that damage this area, be warned: we have zero tolerance for your illegal activities."

The state asks anyone who witnesses dumping, vandalism, or other illegal activities to report it by calling 800-523-3336. "We rely on the people of Delaware to share and support our role as good stewards of our natural resources - and that includes reporting those who abuse these valuable resources," said Graybeal.