(Denver) The National Forests will be free of astroturf by summer according to the official word from the Department of the Interior. In a long-awaited announcement a spokesman, at the regional office here, confirmed that the removal of the dangerous material would begin as early as next week.
Before the agency can actually tear out the synthetic grass replacement, it must shoulder the task of removing snow. Although the white stuff has been sparse so far this year it is still a monumental task at best. Already gov’ment agents have combed the public houses in search of a labor force. Over 500 snowplows are expected by the weekend, many dropped from helicopters or acquisitioned from local peasants.
According to an official document the USFS says it has condemned forest floors in San Juan, Uncompahgre, Gunnison, Mesa and White River National Forests. Isolation of elusive astroturf colonies in the other forests will follow.
“We wanted to begin the demolition in areas far away from the major population centers in case we foul up the works,” said Maggie Pye, an forest service officer who admittedly has not been in the woods since 1974. “I can’t get away from my desk but I get to wear the official uniform and all,” she quipped. “I even get to carry a gun.”
The action appears to be a result of a gov’ment study on the health of animals currently residing on the federal land. Since the installation of the astroturf, knee injuries among the elk population have doubled while the lighter deer have been almost injury free under normal conditions. When it rains or snows that changes drastically.
“We’ve had more mule deer in rehab since 1985, when that carpet was added to the woodland ecology, than we had since we started counting the animals,” said Pye. “The majority of the deer suffer from knee injuries too.”
Other smaller animals, and even a black bear or two, have suffered career-ending damage as a result of the astroturf which does not give at impact.
“Just the other morning several of us watched as a snowshoe rabbit planted his paw in an attempt to elude a mountain lion, continued the source. “Then we heard a snap…it was his little knee and the rabbit was lunch. After a few years’ exposure to the elements, the astroturf turns to a slippery clay-like substance when it gets wet. We’ve no choice but to pull the stuff up or build a dome over the forest.”
With all the competition for herds in the mountain west combined with the salaries one would think the powers that be would see the disastrous affects of astroturf, adds Pye.
“Sure it’s virtually maintenance free and looks great from above but it’s only a small step up from asphalt. In addition it’s inedible and the larger mammals have trouble sleeping on it. I prefer to blame the engineering department for the whole mess.”
The original expense incurred when the astroturf was first laid came in at about $620,000. The cleanup is projected at slightly higher.
“But that takes into account inflation over the past 15 years,” said Pye. “Either way, we think it’s a good deal for the taxpayer. I just can’t wait to see the look of the bears’ faces when they wake up to real grass in the spring.”
The astroturf tailings will be stored at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Golden until it goes away.
– Kashmir Horseshoe

Filed Under: Lifestyles at Risk


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