CALHAN, Colo. — Park officials at the Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Calhan are running into more issues of vandalism. This comes just two months after the park was graffitied.
Despite signs being posted throughout the park, people still aren’t getting the message. After only a short hike, you can easily see areas of spray paint and names carved out into these ancient rocks. It’s something park officials say has become a growing problem this summer during the pandemic
“It just clutched our hearts. It made us so sad. I mean, our rocks are who we are around here. And so to know that people are defacing it and not respecting it, it just made us so very sad,” said Susan Davies, Executive Director, Trails and Open Space Coalition.
The uptick in visitors at Paint Mines Interpretive Park is putting a strain on the park’s sensitive landscape. People aren’t just coming in high numbers; they’re also trampling over off-limit areas and climbing on rocks that have signs telling them not to.
“Climbing is a big one for us. We deal with that repeatedly. It’s hard because you want to climb on these beautiful formations, but we ask you to please not. You don’t realize it, but the rock isn’t a hard rock. It’s not like granite; it’s sandstone. So every time you’re walking on it, you’re creating more erosion,” said Adam Baker. Baker is the East District Park Supervisor.
No dogs are allowed at the park, another rule several people are ignoring.
“They have sharp claws, and unfortunately, with them scrambling on the rocks, it also increases erosion,” added Baker.
Park officials say this prehistoric place is at risk of erosion because of how some visitors are treating it. That’s why they’re looking into revisiting the park’s master plan to find new ways to protect this natural resource.
“To look at what they should do in terms of security, signage, maybe shorten hours somehow. The county has been so successful using those tools elsewhere to protect resources,” Davies said.
Working to preserve this southern Colorado gem for future generations to enjoy.
“Once it’s gone, we can’t get it back. Please just do your part when you visit our park. Follow the rules, we have them for a reason, And enjoy yourself,” voiced Baker.