Forest Service Goes After ‘Smoke Shacks’ and Their Builders Within Crested Butte Ski Area

Mt. Crested Butte, CO - U.S. Forest Service rangers in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests report that they continue to hunt down and destroy illegal marijuana “smoke shacks” within the boundaries of Colorado’s Crested Butte ski area, and indicate that they will continue to prosecute the builders and maintainers of the structures.nThe shacks constitute illegal structures built on Forest Service land, officials say. Those structures found are torn down and their builders and users prosecuted, for according to officials, even tightening a wire holding the structure together, or clearing a path to the structure is considered to be maintaining it.

In December, two Western State College students were fined $850 each for building an illegal structure within the ski area, and were banned from Crested Butte Mountain Resort as a result of their actions. Additional structures were later located in February. A similar sweep at Crested Butte in February 2008 also resulted in arrests.

The illegal structures are not confined to Crested Butte. Similar smoke shacks were located and destroyed at Snowmass Ski Area near Aspen, Colo. in 2007. Forest Service officials have indicated that such inspection operations are routine at ski areas operating on public land.

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