Vail Daily editorial: Hanging Lake episode proves some can’t have nice things
It’s usually easy to write newspaper pieces without using profanity. That job is more difficult today, given the topic: Last week’s news about graffiti vandals on the Hanging Lake trail.
By now you’ve no doubt heard that someone, or more than one someone, recently laid the graffiti tag “Blest” at several points along the trail. The cleanup could cost taxpayers $3,000 or more.
The U.S. Forest Service is generally strapped for cash, but a few thousand dollars isn’t going to hurt that badly. What does hurt is that someone in the midst of a hike into one of the most scenic places on the planet might think, “Y’know, this place would be even better with a few dabs of spray paint.”
There’s plenty of interest — more than 6,000 views of that page on the Vail Daily’s website one day — and appropriately righteous anger about last week’s tagging. And, if good wishes could translate to action, then the perpetrators would be quickly caught and punished to the upper limits of what the law allows.
That’s probably unlikely, though.
And, unfortunately, the Hanging Lake graffiti vandals are merely an exclamation point on practices that, while relatively rare, are proof that some of us can’t have, or be around, nice things.
The Facebook page of one of this newspaper’s employees has twice in the last week shown piles of refuse dumped on Forest Service roads in Eagle County, one near Wolcott, the other up Cottonwood Pass near Gypsum.
It also took what seemed like a matter of minutes for someone near Gypsum to graffiti-tag a new wooden structure along Interstate 70 — a structure that will be an escape ramp for animals that somehow find themselves on the wrong side of the new wildlife fence along that part of the highway
There’s always a small percentage of jerks in any population. As populations grow, that percentage stays roughly constant, but we end up with more jerks.
There’s certainly no lack of education about the need to behave on public lands. It’s an effort now nearly 50 years in the public eye.
But some people can’t have, or be around, nice things. We can only hope that a trash-dumper picks up three tires worth of nails from a previous dumper on his next trip, or that the next graffiti vandal ends up with a face full of spray paint. Or, at the very least, that the next jerk is seen, and reported to the authorities.
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