Roses and Thorns |

Roses and Thorns

Roses to members of local law enforcement for quickly responding to the dangerous situation on Lincoln Creek Road last week and never firing their weapons. Officers remained calm and levelheaded, and everybody walked away unharmed. The outcome couldn’t have been any better considering the danger they faced.

Thorns to the backpackers who aren’t using bear-proof canisters for food and garbage in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and to those who aren’t properly burying their human waste at popular camping areas such as Snowmass Lake, Fravert Basin and Conundrum Valley. The bear canisters need to be used to prevent conflicts. Even if you get away with sloppy storage, the next person might not if habits don’t change. Regarding human waste — how is it possible that a person would be willing to strap on a backpack weighing 30 to 40 pounds and hike 8 miles up the Snowmass Lake Trail or cross Buckskin Pass on the alternative but not make the effort to dig a cat hole for their crap?

Along the topic of bears, thorns go to the visitors of the Sundeck who ignorantly fed a young bear. Those feedings were a catalyst for the bear to return to the restaurant, and it was ultimately shot by an Aspen Skiing Co. caretaker and put down by a state wildlife authority. Hopefully Skico, which owns the mountaintop restaurant, has put an end to this behavior by some of its guests.

Roses to the wilderness rangers patrolling the trails of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and other special areas around Aspen. They are a small crew — two paid seasonal workers and four interns as well as a year-round lead ranger. Despite the small group size, they cover a lot of territory. Maroon Bells-Snowmass alone is 283 square miles.

Thorns to all of the homeowners associations in town that don’t allow dogs. Dogs seem to be allowed just about everywhere in town except for most apartment and housing complexes. It’s hard enough to find housing in this town — at least let people keep their beloved pets and a little dignity as they struggle to attain affordable housing.

Thorns to the owners of more than a dozen dogs on the West Maroon Trail on Saturday that were unleashed despite specific signing requiring a leash. This behavior creates a dangerous environment for people and animals but also risks endangering the life of a moose or other wild animal that reacts to a dog giving chase. And if nothing else, it makes certain that others on the trail won’t get the opportunity to see the beautiful wildlife that lives there.

Thorns to Mayor Steve Skadron for never having visited a marijuana store until last week. As the mayor of a town considering a cap on the number of shops in town — shops that generated $8.3 million in sales in 2015 alone — we’d think the mayor would have visited one by now just in order to have a better sense of the industry he wants to regulate more.

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