All day Sunday, activists armed with walkie talkies and handles like "Lodgepole" and "Calamity Jane" had scattered around the mountain on reconnaissance missions. Huddled around the campfire that night, the scouts reported that despite rumors to the contrary, Vail had not begun operations on the expansion. That meant that the next day, Monday, would probably be D-Day. Word was that a crane was coming 150 miles from Grand Junction to drop a bridge over the creek so the heavy machinery could follow. They would have to stop the crane. Somehow.
Around midnight, people began dispersing into their tents, VW vans and sleeping bags to brave the cold autumn night ahead. The Ancient Forest Rescue's Ben Doon remembers being awakened around 6 a.m. by a fellow activist who shouted something about a fire on the mountain. Doon, a little groggy, crawled out of his tent and saw the smoke plume on the ridge. Then, a friend came in from town who had heard the early reports on the radio. The fires smelled like arson.
Doon realized what that meant. "Everybody's immediate fear was that if this was arson, we'd be prime suspects," he recalled. People began emerging from their tents, making coffee, and toasting bagels that had frozen over night over the campfire. "I expected the feds to start swarming into our campsite," said Doon. "I figured we'd get framed for this immediately." Doon knew that there were hunters camped nearby who could probably corroborate their story about camping there all night, but worried about the obvious knee-jerk reaction that a lot of people would have.
"There is no way the enviros did this," he thought, especially since the fires were up on the mountain and seemed to have no real connection to the imminent construction. Whoever lit the fires had to have intimate knowledge of the mountain and Vail's security systems, Doon reasoned. It couldn't have been the environmentalists. "It had to be," he concluded, "an inside job."
Pub date: 12/17/02
Price: $14.00/22.00 Canada
5-1/2 X 8-1/4
Carton Quantity: 32
Selling Territory: WORLD EXCL. UK & COMMONWEALTH
Pub history: PublicAffairs hc