Locals blast end of cannon fire | AspenTimes.com

Locals blast end of cannon fire

John Colson

Calls have been flooding into local authorities from citizens who are upset there will be no cannon blast at dawn from the Smuggler Mine this year on the Fourth of July.

According to Nancy Beavers at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, “I have been getting a ton of calls … probably 25 calls this morning.”

She said all of them expressed the opinion that the firing of the cannon, which is traditionally done by the men who own and operate the Smuggler Mine operations, should not be discontinued to appease those in the area who have complained about the annual big boom.

One of the men involved with the annual blast, who asked not to be identified for fear of harassment against his family by those upset by the blasts, confirmed this week that he and his cohorts have decided to call it quits.

A large part of the decision, he said, was based on the fact that last year, sheriff’s deputies came up to the Smuggler Mine, acting on complaints from local citizens, and warned that further cannon blasts would result in the arrest of those involved.

Beavers said earlier this week that she had already received a pre-emptive call from one complainant, demanding that the cannon not be fired this year because it disturbs his dogs.

“They know we hear from the people who don’t want to hear [the blast],” Beavers said Thursday of the cannon blast supporters, “so I guess they decided to call us and say they want to hear it.”

Over at the Aspen Police Department, according to Sandee Boyer, only one call has been received, but that caller, too, wanted the cannon blast tradition to continue.

Staffers in both departments said they were at a loss as to what to say to the callers, because the cannon blast has been strictly a private function and the departments are not involved except to act on complaints.

“There’s really nothing we can do,” said Kelly Linn of the sheriff’s office.

The source involved in shooting off the cannon said that he has considered applying for formal permission from Pitkin County and the city, though he is not sure it could be obtained, given that the blast probably violates the city’s noise ordinance and has already drawn fire from certain quarters.

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