Jack, my son Zac and I drove out to my daughter’s in Thomas Mountain Village Christmas morning. The halycon blue sky, snowy mountains, bucolic pastures and fairly clear highways created an idyllic scene for a drive in the country. Traffic was light, contradicting a deluge of snow visitors making their way toward the mountains.
We should all have seen it coming but what could we do? That question has been put to me repeatedly since Christmas Day. “I don’t know,” I say. “I’m not smart enough to solve the problem.”
We have an infrastructure issue. We lack the resources to keep the highways clear, traffic moving, people and private property safe, trash cans, restrooms, etc. — the same as occurred in January this year.
Residents point fingers at who’s to blame. They blame the visitors, most of whom are innocent and grateful to have a free playground for snow play, although they could be considerate enough to pack out their trash.
They blame the Sheriff’s Department for not providing enough deputies and the Forest Service for not providing enough rangers, as if the agencies have a bunch of trained guys and gals waiting in a cabinet somewhere at a moment’s notice they can just pull out and put on the streets.
It doesn’t work that way. It’s not like a department store hiring part-time holiday help. It takes years to become a deputy or ranger.
Communicating with mass numbers of people spread over miles of roads might be best done with signage. And, unfortunately, that wasn’t done.
We were a big, messy city for two days — a temporary inconvenience. In the end, people had fun, businesses thrived and I heard of no one getting hurt. At least not this time.