Vandalism Threatens BLM Budget

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO)- Thousands of tax dollars are being used to fix what vandals have torn up on BLM land, and officials say repairing the damage to these public areas has the bureau cutting back on other projects.

$10,000 worth of vandalisms is something the BLM doesn't have a budget for.

Because of people tearing apart new kiosks, BLM officials say your tax dollars aren't going to be spent solely on improving the trails you hike and they won't be able to hire more employees.

The most recent vandalism happened two weeks ago when the picnic area near Gateway was just completed.

Trail maps hadn't even been posted, when someone shot more than 40 bullets into the kiosk causing $1,500 in damage.

This incident comes less than two months after more kiosks on 18 Road outside Fruita suffered major damage. That repair bill was $5,000.

Erin Curtis with the BLM says, "Essentially what it means is we have to find some other project to cut that we were planning to do this year or some other place we use money to pay for this vandalism. For example, there's a trail maintenance project we might not be able to get to this year and there's a seasonal employee that we may have to lay off earlier than expected."

The Bureau of Land Management has yet to find suspects in any of this year's vandal isms.

They rely mostly on tips from the public, since there are just three rangers keeping an eye on more than 1.2 million acres in our area.

If you have information on the vandalisms you're asked to contact them at 244–3000.

The suspects in these cases could face up to $1,000 fine and have to reimburse the BLM for any repairs.