Spray paint mars trail to Mount of the Holy Cross
MINTURN – U.S. Forest Service crews plan to use wire brushes and maybe solvent to try to remove white arrows somebody spray-painted on rocks to mark a trail through a wilderness area to the Mount of the Holy Cross.
The arrows mark a little-used descent route on one of the state’s 54 mountains over 14,000 feet.
“For over 100 years, people thought of this place as pristine, so the damage cuts to the core of the basic concept of wilderness,” said Beth Boyst, wilderness specialist for the White River National Forest. “For someone to deface this area is sad and offensive.”
She said the arrows often run next to a clearly visible path on a route that is much steeper and more difficult than the main route down the peak.
The mountain, named for its distinctive natural cross of snow on its east face, earned worldwide fame from 19th century photographs by William Henry Jackson.
Boyst said the use of spray paint to mark the trail was a federal offense punishable by a $5,000 fine.
Any kind of permanent human marks in wilderness areas are decried by mountaineers and wilderness advocates.
“It’s pretty much a disgrace,” said Steve Hoffmeyer of Nederland, who discovered the arrows while leading a Colorado Mountain Club trip up the peak this month. “There’s no reason for that.”
Wilderness ranger Cindy Ebbert said crews will try to scrub the rocks clean before resorting to solvents.
Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado
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