Pack it in Pack it out – Keep the Old Pass Road Clean
I have read comments, I have listened to comments concerning the illegal gate on the Old Raton Pass road and the proposed gate by the City of Raton. While restricting vehicular access and traffic on a public road is not a good solution, it is the problem that has caused the gate to be placed there in the first place, that has not been addressed or talked about that concerns me more than the proposed restricted access to our public property. The Old Pass Road is property that is owned by the citizens of Raton and that as custodians of that property the City of Raton is required to protect it from vandalism and destruction of the items put in place for the public good.
The problem I speak of is the blatant disrespect and disregard for both public and private property that should be of more concern than a gate. The gate across the Old Pass Road wouldn’t even be an issue let alone a topic of discussion if it weren’t for the very few people who feel that it is their right to disrespect not only someone else’s property but the public property that they themselves as tax payers are part owners of. How would you feel if I sat in front of your property in my car and drank beer and threw the empty bottles and trash on your front yard or decided I wanted to use your house or out building for target practice? You would be royally pissed and rightly so. So how do you think the property owners along the Old Pass Road feel when someone goes up there and trashes their property along the public access? Or illegally dumps a pickup load of shingles or more dangerously shoots up a building or home or decides to build a camp fire that gets away and causes another Track Fire? WHY!!
Why have these few felt it necessary to damage and vandalize the signage at the Iridium Layer or the picnic tables along the side of the Old Pass Road. Oh yes there are picnic areas up there, I bet many people didn’t even know they existed because they didn’t take the time to go look and enjoy the scenery that is there for the public to utilize. But then again, why would anyone want to go up there to utilize the public property, that they are part owners of, when someone else has gone up there and left their beer cans or bottles or other trash or worse yet taken a sledge hammer or high powered rifle and damaged the tables so badly to render them useless. WHY!!
I drive many a remote road in my line of work and often run across a road sign or historical marker that has been used for target practice or the pull off by the historical sign is trashed with garbage and graffiti. WHY!!! Drive to the top of Johnson Mesa and pull off the side of the road on Highway 72 and the pull off there is trashed. WHY!! WHY is there no respect for the public lands, public property that is owned by each and everyone of us who pay the taxes to use it and protect it.
Fix this problem and that gate that so many people feel offended by, that crosses the Old Pass Road or is being proposed by the Raton City Commission, will go away. The city is only trying to protect not only the public property along the road but the private property on either side of it so that we don’t have another Track Fire from a runaway camp fire or cigarette or a shooting death because someone felt like using a house for target practice. Yes enforcement and protection of the area falls to the city since it is city property, but enforcement of the laws wouldn’t be needed if those very few people wouldn’t go up there and trash the place that they themselves are part owners of and respect the property of others.