Thanks to a bozo armed with a can of spray paint, one of the most magnificent attractions in Western Colorado could be closed until summer.

Earlier this month, volunteers at the White River Natural Forest discovered graffiti on various trees, rocks, and fixtures on the Hanging Lake Trail. Estimates place damages at roughly $3,000.

As you are no doubt aware, damaging federal property or any natural feature is illegal. The consequences of such actions include potential fines and court appearances.

Of course, the true tragedy is the damage to the area's natural features and the disruption to the public's ability to enjoy their visit.

According to 9News, this round of vandalism, combined with illegal parking and visitors swimming or walking the lake's log, could put the United States Forest Service in a situation where they are forced to close the Hanging Lake Trail until additional staff can be implemented.

9News conducted a survey asking "Should Hanging Lake Trail be closed?"

  • Trail should be closed indefinitely - 50%
  • Trail should be closed temporarily - 36%
  • Trail should NOT be closed - 15%

You may recall when Hanging Lake was closed late last year in order to clean up a previous round of vandalism. Now, more than six months later, it is faced with the possibility of closure once again. This time, though, the closing of Hanging Lake could have longer lasting implications.

Should they close it? Check out the debate which unfolded in the comments section of the 9News story.

Hanging Lake Survey
9 News

Personally, I think it should be closed permanently. Hanging Lake is one of the most magnificent sites in Colorado if not the world. Granted, its magnificence means very little if it is kept under lock and key. On the other hand, there are an infinite number hikes in Western Colorado. Those who seek the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors have access to enough hikes to last a lifetime.

Another option would involve establishing an entrance fee to Hanging Lake. Nothing stops the weirdos like a $20 admission charge. Regrettably, admission costs can quickly price out the family of four looking for a scenic getaway.

There are those who see nothing wrong with the graffiti. Some might say it is no different than the petroglyphs left behind by Native Americans who lived in the region. I believe it is reasonable to make a distinction between the two. Graffiti is graffiti, whereas petroglyphs were once a common means of communication.

Hanging Lake was here long before any of us, and it deserves to be here long after we're gone. Right here, right now, it seems as though keeping the lake safe from those who would cause it harm is beyond our reach. If we can't protect it, perhaps we should close it.

More From Kool 107.9