We live in a small village on top of a mountain in the forest, where trash, slash, and “holey” roads are issues that never cease. I am always amazed by people who complain, throw blame, threaten, and even insult our crews. This is done on social media, through emails and phone calls and in person. The spirit of casting stones in our village is truly sad.
We explain over and over how small our work force is and how long it takes to secure funding. The complainers don’t care, nor do they listen. Instead they curse and threaten. I agree that the trash littering Hwy 434 is horrendous. High winds and melting snow unveils litter from residents, visitors and businesses. It clings to the fences and weeds. Angry people call to tell me to get our employees on this, NOW, or they will turn us into the state. Yet, they don’t ever offer to help or like my answers.
- We have a work force of 5 in the solid waste department. These guys work tirelessly 7 days a week to empty trash bins all over the village. (you know, the bins you take pictures of and publish on social media to try and shame our crew)
- We do not have a landfill in Angel Fire. All of the trash we pick up must be taken off of the mountain. This means 1, sometimes 2 of the crew of 5, are constantly moving your trash down to a landfill, that leaves 3, sometimes 4, of the crew to pick up trash bins, move and empty cardboard trailers, and work all of the tasks it takes to run the transfer station. Plus until this season, they were also expected to take care of all of the slash.
- We DO have open positions in solid waste, advertised for over 2 years… no applicants.
- Most of you know that Hwy 434 aka Mountain View Blvd., belongs to the state, not the Village. Thus we depend on them to send people to take care of the road and the trash on their easements. As government goes, we cannot pay our crew to pick up trash on state land. Or private land, which includes the area across the street from the trash facility on Halo Pines.
We have true caring volunteers that organize and put together Community Clean-Up Days. One in the spring and one in the fall. We apply for grants to pay for the supplies; such as trash bags, gloves, trash grabbers, vests, etc. Those same volunteers obtain sponsors to help pay for food to feed the volunteer trash picker uppers for their service on these 2 days. What money they cannot secure through sponsors, they pay for out of their own pockets! We really love and appreciate this committee! But the clean up days only happen twice a year.
Why not be like these volunteers year round? We all realize trash on the roads, trails, and vacant lots is an ugly issue. I believe if all of the people who openly and angrily complain about the litter would stop and pick some up, and everyone else in our community, we might could get it a little under control. The village is happy to supply you with trash bags and to check out vests for you to wear while picking up trash, year round. (I actually carry bags in my car to pick up trash when I can.) Or at least if more would volunteer to help on clean-up days. Everyone is asked to sign in on these days to keep track of volunteer hours. It helps to show when how many people in the community actively do pick up trash, when applying for grants. It is again sad that we seldom see the complainers show up to help!
I believe if the businesses on Hwy 434 would be more cautious with their blowing construction trash that attaches onto their fences and across the street from their businesses would help clean it up on a regular basis, it would be a tremendous help. As a local, you know the trash bins will be overflowing during high tourist times, so why not wait until a weekday to throw your trash instead of going on the weekend, when tourists will be using the facility? If you live in a condo and lease your trash bins, but only have them scheduled for twice a week pick-up, call for another pick up during high tourist times. The number of days your trash bins are picked up, is your call, not the solid waste department. And curiously, why do pet owners put their dog’s poop in a bag, then leave the bags on our trails? Carry in, carry out should be every hiker’s mantra.
I hope you get the picture. All residents, whether you live here full time, reside in another state and only come to town a few times a year or rent out via short term rentals, are equally responsible for the trash you allow to blow from the bags you place on top of a bin instead of inside the bin or the trash you allow to blow onto the fences, expecting someone else to clean it up for you. We are all responsible, not just the crew at the solid waste department.
I’d really like to see a community who cares enough about the beauty of the Village come together to help make that possible year round. I assure you, acting like you care without helping and becoming a part of the solution only causes division, with arrogance. Actions speak louder than words. Be kind and grab a trash bag.
Mayor of the Village of Angel Fire
At the trash center on Halo Pines:
Signs are posted on all of the bins. Just today I saw this piece of furniture dumped next to a sign that clearly says furniture is prohibited…..
Please help us keep Angel Fire clean and beautiful!