Two men caught snowmobiling on the snow-less ground in the Independence Pass area, near Aspen, CO look like they’ll be caught thanks to their bragging of it on social media.
Three Aspen-area ecologists were astounded earlier in July when they came across two snowmobilers running their sleds down fragile, snow-free terrain on the Upper Lost Man Loop. The three hikers feel the incident was indicative of a growing mentality that “anything goes” on public lands in the pursuit of fun, reported the Aspen Times. The snowmobilers were running their sleds over the wet ground to reach the parking area along Highway 82.
“There was no snow anywhere in Lost Man Basin at all,” one of the ecologists said. “The issue is all the damage it does to the fragile tundra. My contention while talking to the snowmobilers was they were being environmentally unconscionable.”
Then just yesterday, the US Forest Service opened an investigation into the case of the two men snowmobiling on snow-free terrain in the designated wilderness on Independence Pass after receiving tips that one of the alleged culprits posted pictures of his illegal activity on social media.
“We’ve been given information about the possible identifications of the people,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said.
On Facebook, the outdoor clothing company Lesh founded, Virtika, posted three pictures of Lesh riding a snowmobile with the caption “@davidlesh sledding today on Independence Pass on Independence Day.” The post has since been deleted.
Law enforcement officers for the agency will follow up, he said and added he couldn’t discuss the case further.
Snowmobile use is only allowed on Highway 82 on the Independence Pass corridor. It’s never allowed in wilderness, where all motorized and mechanized uses are prohibited.