Scarier Smokey is needed |

Scarier Smokey is needed

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:(This letter was originally addressed to Jim Stark, assistant district ranger of the White River National Forest.)Each time I ride my bike past the Difficult Campground area, on my way up the pass, I notice Smokey the Bear standing next to a sign with the current day’s fire danger level. He is always standing tall, with a shovel by his side and is shirtless, showing to the world his paunchy belly.Although very approachable-looking, in a very Disney sort of way, I propose that his image should perhaps instill a little more apprehension about starting forest fires. How about getting the old chap into the gym?I picture 20-inch biceps, a 50-inch chest with bulging pecs and washboard abs on the guy. Have him standing there all ripped out holding a shovel broken in two, flashing some fangs, and a little saying beside him, something like “start a fire and I’ll rip your lungs out.” That should give cause for people to be a little safer.And here’s a great way to get the kids involved more. Start producing Smokey the Bear trading cards (like baseball cards). Each card would have an actual picture of the “Smokey Sign” with the bottom part identifying the location further like: “Maroon Bells – Aspen, Colorado.”Of course, on the backs of the cards you could have an interesting statistic about that particular location along with some fire safety and prevention tips. And to top it off, for each of the new signs created at areas across the country, Smokey would be striking a different pose showing off his new chiseled physique and saying something different (i.e.: “Play it safe or I’ll make mincemeat out of you.”). The distribution part would be easy. When families pay to enter one of our national parks or monuments around the country, the rangers would hand out one of the trading cards to the kiddies. It could be a unique way of getting more families to visit some of our great lands. I can hear it now: “Mom, I need the Denali Smokey card, when are we going to Alaska?” Anyway, just food for thought.Aaron JackAspen

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