Smuggler site dedicated to teenager vandalized
By Eben HarrellAspen Times Staff WriterA picnic ground on the top of Smuggler Mountain established in memory of Aspen teen Robbie Wade was vandalized by party-goers Sunday, Pitkin County officials said yesterday.The picnic area, located a quarter mile above the Smuggler Mountain observation deck, was strewn with beer cans and litter. Two bonfire sites were also discovered despite a countywide fire ban. A wooden fence around the ground, constructed last summer by the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteer program, was torn up and used for firewood. The picnic area was established by the county last year in the memory of Wade, who died in a skateboarding accident.The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office reported that the desecration of the site coincided with reports of teenagers partying on Smuggler Mountain early Sunday.”We received a reckless driving call on Sunday. It looks like our youth have found another place to hold their affairs,” sheriff patrol director Ann Stephenson said. “Last weekend they had been on West Buttermilk. No plates were recorded [in the Smuggler report], so there’s not much we can do to find who it was.”Pitkin County land steward Gary Tennenbaum said the county will now step up patrols of the area to stop further vandalism. “So much effort went into the area, it’s really disappointing. But what I’m most concerned about is drunken driving,” said Tennenbaum, who wrote a letter to the editor that appears on page A13. “It’s not an easy road to drive, and it’s very dangerous. There were so many beer cans around, and given the reckless driving report I can’t imagine there was a designated driver.”Also, the bonfires are of great concern. Can you imagine a wildfire on Smuggler Mountain?”Tennenbaum urged residents near the base of Smuggler to report any heavy vehicle activity around the area. He also encouraged users of the picnic ground to treat the ground responsibly. “It’s a memorial area. It’s really simple: Just respect it,” Tennenbaum said.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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