Vandalism increasing on public lands – reward offered for information
July 7, 2009
The Sulphur Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and the Kremmling Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management are teaming up with Grand County Crime Stoppers to put an end to the vandalism and damage that has been taking place on public lands.
Since January, the Sulphur Ranger District has had over $10,400 worth of damage from vandalism: 16 signs shot, 15 signs stolen, 5 seasonal gate locks shot or cut open, 5 property gates bent or pulled out, 3 solar panels on a Forest Service repeater shot and 6 boundary marker signs shot in the Arapaho National Recreation Area.
And the Kremmling Field Office has documented more than $4,500 worth of damage from vandalism: 119 road signs shot or stolen, 4 informational kiosks shot and 8 no dumping, no motorized use and other signs destroyed.
The damage is a significant cost to taxpayers and diverts time and funding away from planned projects. However, the cost to taxpayers is only part of the story. The gates and signs that have been vandalized protect both the users and natural resources. Signing helps forest users know where they are going, what type of use is allowed and the rules of the area.
Seasonal gate closures help protect saturated road surfaces from rutting in the spring and wet seasons. Ruts can become channels for meltwater and run-off causing further road damage. Roads may appear to be dry but could be closed for repair, may be unsafe or may have wet conditions beyond the gate. When these gates are illegally opened, they pose a hazard to unsuspecting forest visitors who may become stuck in adverse conditions. These gates may also be protecting breeding or wintering areas for wildlife.
The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management need your help. Grand County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons involved in this vandalism. Call (970) 725-3226 with any information about these crimes. Your tip can remain anonymous.