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Jail inmates help clean up X-rock, a popular climbing spot in Southwest Colorado

No suspects identified in recent graffiti case
La Plata County Jail inmates help clean up trash at X-rock climbing area north of Durango. The area was also recently hit with offensive graffiti. (Courtesy of La Plata County Sheriff's Office)

A cleanup crew led by the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office has removed 12 bags of trash from the X-rock climbing area north of Durango city limits.

X-rock is one of the most popular climbing areas near Durango. The trash, old bike frames, cabinetry and other refuse was found primarily south of the recreation area, said Chris Burke, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office. The site was also hit by graffiti conveying racist, vulgar and antisemitic messages in late May or early June.

Sgt. Marty Brenner conducted the trash cleanup June 17 with four jail trustees, inmates with a low criminal status who chose to help with the project.

“Sgt. Brenner was pretty clear that this (littering) was not from climbers or recreators,” Burke said. “This was trash left by the unhoused south of the X-rock recreation area.”

The Sheriff’s Office “tagged” – or identified – two abandoned campsites, Burke said. Deputies collected unclaimed property from one site and will hold it for 30 days.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the graffiti case.

“The camps that were tagged and abandoned, we don’t know if that’s tied to the graffiti or not,” Burke said.

No suspects have been identified, he said.

Keeping Colorado Beautiful, a graffiti-removal organization founded by outdoors enthusiasts, will visit the area this weekend to assess the damage done to the rocks and prepare to clean the area, said Sarah Jacobson, La Plata County administrative analyst.

Keeping Colorado Beautiful uses sustainable graffiti removal techniques without damaging the rock formations or surrounding environment, according to the group’s website.

It will also assess the graffiti around Bakers Bridge and “The Notch” at the top of Kennebec Pass, both popular recreational areas in La Plata County, Jacobson said.


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