San Juan Mountains Colorado
ASPEN, Colo. (AP) Federal officials are blaming budget cuts for a drop in arrests in the White River National Forest.
According to U.S. Forest Service records obtained by the Aspen Daily News, there has been a 76 percent decline in the number of citations issued since 2009. Crimes not being pursued range from lighting an illegal campfire to smoking pot on federal property.
Federal officials say three of the four law enforcement positions in the national forest have been vacant for most of the last three years.
That has sometimes left a single Forest Service police officer to enforce federal law on 2.3 million acres of land spanning parts of nine western Colorado counties.