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PARK COUNTY, Colo – It’s that time of year in Colorado where people drive to the mountains to see the leaves change.
However, Denver7 received a few emails from viewers regarding a problem happening at one of the popular campgrounds to the aspen leaves.
Apparently, some people are leaving their trash everywhere on the trail at Kenosha Pass Campground, and the public bathrooms are closed.
According to a sign on the bathroom door, the facilities have been closed "due to excessive cost of maintenance. This is a result of trash items repeatedly being deposited in the vaults."
According to Barbara Timock, a spokesperson for Forest Service, the South Platte district made a series of difficult management decisions.
“After much deliberation, Ranger Brian Banks decided to close the restrooms in 2018 because there are higher priority funding needs,” Timock wrote in a statement delivered to Denver7. “The cost of cleaning and pumping these toilets annually reached approximately $9,600. This includes the additional cost of removing trash thrown in the toilets. We realize this is an inconvenience for travelers, and we’re open to partnership solutions in the future.”
The closing of the restrooms at Kenosha Pass Campgrounds appeared to create a ripple effect.
“There isn’t any type of dumpster to throw away trash here,” said Charlotte Knauky, who was camping at Kenosha Pass for two days. “The trash was awful around the closed bathrooms, it was terrible. Lots of dog poop bags just lying everywhere on the trail and parking lots.”
Darlynn Keyes, who works at the Kenosha Pass Campgrounds, has been picking up trash and left over dog poop bags every day when she’s at work.
“Yesterday I think we picked up about 100 dog poop bags,” Keyes said. “But it’s not just that. Some people leave their socks, and other’s leave their slippers. But it’s happening because they can’t put trash in the bathrooms. When they did, people couldn’t even get to the toilets because people left so much trash in the bathroom.”
Forest Service told Denver7 to help with this problem, it is relying on education and for people to take their trash with them when they leave the park.
However, some are picking up after others.
“There was so much trash around the closed bathrooms,” Knauky said. “Two days ago it was bad, then yesterday all of a sudden it was gone. One of the people that works at the campgrounds said a woman came by – a private citizen – and picked it all up.”
That woman was Lisa Landes.
“One of my friends told me how bad it was,” Landes said. “And before I went up there for the hike, I packed a couple trash bags, and when I got there I picked up all the trash by the bathroom. I put it in my car and took it a dumpster on the way home.”
Landes said the solution to all this is very simple.
“Everyone just needs to bring a bag with them and take their trash when they leave,” Landes said. “Even just pick up trash when you see it. It doesn’t matter if it’s not yours.”