Reward offered for polluter’s arrest | AspenTimes.com

Reward offered for polluter’s arrest

Aspen Times Staff Report

Somebody came up with a unique, but rather destructive, way to use the national forest in the Fryingpan Valley.

Three refrigerators and two freezers were junked just off Fryingpan Road about two miles east of Chapman campground, according to Martine Saint Dennis, U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer. The appliances were discovered Monday, April 15, so they were probably dumped that weekend or that morning.

The Forest Service is offering a cash reward of up to $500 for anyone who supplies information that leads to the apprehension of the person or persons involved, according to Saint Dennis.

The appliances have to be removed and dealt with at Forest Service expense unless the polluters are caught. Saint Dennis said officials estimated it will cost about $2,000 to store the refrigerators and freezers, hire a contractor to drain the coolant, and then dispose of the applicants properly at a landfill.

The offering of a reward is part of the Forest Service’s plan to crack down on litter in the Sopris and Aspen ranger districts. Saint Dennis said it costs the agency about $5,000 per summer to hire a seasonal worker to do nothing but pick up trash and litter in the Sopris district.

There are seven districts in the White River National Forest, so litter patrol is a costly item for the cash-strapped agency, Saint Dennis said.

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She identified Basalt Mountain as a particularly troublesome spot. Young partyers have already been leaving loads of beer bottles and cans as well as an assortment of other garbage this spring. The Forest Service plans a crackdown on that popular gathering place and recreation hot spot.

Anyone with a tip about the refrigerators and freezers dumped in the Fryingpan can call anonymously to 963-2266, extension 3144.