Local: Rangers concerned about vandalism along Bear River | SteamboatToday.com

Local: Rangers concerned about vandalism along Bear River

— In the past two weeks, someone has been removing U.S. Forest Service signs and putting them back upside down; taking excessive amounts of the fee envelopes used at the entrances to campgrounds; and scribbling profane statements on signs along the Bear River corridor, south of Yampa.

Jason West, a recreation manager with the Yampa Ranger District, said the vandalism is a concern because of the damage to U.S. Forest Service property and the amount of labor and money the Forest Service spends on sending rangers to deal with the problems.

“The extra time and taxpayer money we spend dealing with the thefts and vandalism is less time and money we can spend in maintaining campgrounds and serving the public,” West said Thursday.

The fee envelopes are used for the areas camping grounds for users to place money in, and the signs describe the regulations for the area, West said.

“The problem is that we usually stock the envelopes to last for the week, and now we’re having to stock them nearly every day. I shouldn’t be spending two hours using WD-40 to scrub paint off signs when I should be elsewhere,” he said.

Forest Service officials began noticing the vandalism two weeks ago, West said.

The most recent incident, which occurred July 12, involved someone spray-painting: “This place is all a pile of (expletive). We’re glad the Lord is burning your forest,” on a Forest Service sign.

“At first, we thought it was a lingering Rainbow person, but that was purely speculation. We had nothing to prove that,” West said. “Now we are 90 percent certain it’s a local person that has either received a ticket or is dealing with some sort of land violation right now or is unhappy with the Forest Service for some reason.”

West said rangers are asking Forest Service users along the Bear River corridor and along National Forest System Road 900 to report anyone who looks suspicious or is vandalizing signs.

Anyone with information is asked to call 638-4516 and ask for law enforcement officer Dan Nielsen.

To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com.

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