Pitco tags vehicles at base of Smuggler | AspenTimes.com

Pitco tags vehicles at base of Smuggler

Amy Meyerson
Special to The Aspen Times

Seen through the missing windshield of an old IH Scout, a dilapidated Ford van and VW van are some of the vehicles at the intersection of Smuggler Mountain road and Park Circle which have been marked by the Pitkin County Sherrif's office for tow. The vehicles were left there when a group of squatters was evicted from the top of Smuggler Mountain. Paul Conrad photo.

Seven broken-down, deserted vehicles at the base of Smuggler Mountain have been tagged by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and are ready to be towed.

The vehicles recently appeared after the county evicted several people residing on county-owned land on Smuggler Mountain.

Commissioner Jack Hatfield said the county was concerned with the potential risk of wildfires.

Wilk Wilkinson, a landowner on Smuggler Mountain, was apparently subletting the county land, which he claimed to own, to those who were evicted. He was left with the responsibility of cleaning up the area and removing the abandoned cars.

The vehicles’ expiration dates range from 1989 to 2000, and many of the cars don’t have license plates. One car has a “for sale” sign tucked away below the passenger seat, and another car’s keys are lying below the pulled-out ignition.

Jerald Wendel, vice president of the Silverlode homeowners association on Smuggler Mountain, said residents want the vehicles removed.

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“People complained because they knew that [the cars] didn’t belong there,” he said.

Two vehicles have already been towed from the area.

The county made an arrangement with Wilkinson when the evictions took place that the cars would be moved to a county lot for the time being.

“Wilk towed them down and parked them there with county’s permission,” said Commissioner Patti Clapper. “His purpose for doing that is to allow people to claim them. If they are not claimed, the county will tow them.”

Clapper also said that after the evictions, they asked Wilkinson to clean up the area. She said she later saw Wilkinson driving “a beat-up orange dump truck.”

“I guess he’s doing a good job, I guess he’s cleaning it up,” she said.