TELLURIDE, Colo. (CBS4) – An end-of-the-year campout for graduating seniors is a popular tradition at many high schools. But after a recent campout near Telluride, the county sheriff found more of a dump site than a campsite.
San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters says teens from a mountain town trashed a part of the forest, and they should know better than to litter their own back yard.
So he shot a four-minute video to publicly shame the students, something the sheriff has done before.
“(The trash) just goes on and on. It’s hard to believe nobody came back and tried to clean it up a bit,” Masters said.
In the video, Masters narrates, “Here’s an interesting piece, this is called evidence for people who do things wrong so we have an easy time identifying who was here. Thank you Joe so much for leaving that, it makes our job so much easier.”
“It must have gotten a little out of hand because there were 200 beer cans and there was just a lot of nonsense going on out there,” he said.
But the video got action immediately.
“I’m not going to clean it up, and I think the children are supposed to. So as soon as I sent that video off to a couple parents, they put it on Facebook, and then there were parents dragging their children to clean it up.”
The sheriff says he hopes that will teach future classes to take care of public land.
“Somewhere along the line, we missed the boat with this group of kids, and it’s pretty disappointing,” Masters said. “To leave the trash out like this is just disgusting … in our national forest.”
Masters said his office usually knows about the end-of-the-school-year bash, but didn’t this time. The party happened deep in the forest, and the site may never have been found if police hadn’t been searching for a missing car in the area.
Masters said while they did find receipts with names on it, it’s hard to hold only a handful responsible when close to 100 people may have been involved. He said as long as the site got cleaned up, that’s good enough for him.