Rangers worry about vandalism | SteamboatToday.com

Rangers worry about vandalism

— U.S. Forest Service officers are asking the public for help in identifying a vandal or vandals in the Bear River area.

During the past two weeks, someone has been removing Forest Service signs and re-hanging them upside down, taking 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 concerning because of the damage being done to U.S. Forest Service property and the amount of work and money the Forest Service is spending to repair the damage.

“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 area’s campgrounds, 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.

“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.

West said rangers are asking visitors to the Bear River corridor and along National Forest System Road 900 to be vigilant about reporting any person or persons who look suspicious or are seen vandalizing Forest Service property. 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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