Officials pull up 4,450 pot plants in Manastash Canyon

ELLENSBURG — Kittitas County authorities Tuesday announced the discovery and eradication of a large outdoor marijuana grow.

The discovery of an estimated 4,450 plants was reported by an Ellensburg couple who came upon the plants while hiking in a remote part of Manastash Canyon, according to a news release issued by the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office.

The plants had a street value of $2 million, authorities estimated.

Sheriff Clayton Myers said the growers caused a lot of environmental damage in the area.

“Green trees are cut down, natural vegetation is removed and the ground is terraced, which results in extensive erosion after the grow is abandoned,” he said in the news release.

In addition, he said, “The streams are dug out and rerouted for irrigation systems, and the chemicals and fertilizers are run right into the streams and springs.”

Members of the Washington State Patrol Cannabis Eradication Response Team assisted deputies.