The bizarre tale of a cabin full of frozen cows, butts heads with bizarre government red tape
Posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 06:46 PM
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In late March the first sketchy reports reached civilization about a surreal scene in a remote backwoods Colorado cabin. Two snowshoers intending on spending the night in the rustic cabin, opened the door to discover it was packed with frozen cows. Immediately many people rushed to the conclusion this was the work of cults in some sort of bizarre Stephen King scenario.
But sadly for conspiracy theorists and even sadder for the cows, forest service officials pieced together the scenario that lead to the untimely demise of the hapless bovines in the wilderness.
Cattle are allowed to graze on National Forest lands, so many ranchers take advantage of this and let their livestock roam the mountains fattening up on the lush grass they find in the western US. But when autumn comes ranchers round them up from the high country and get them down to the valleys before the heavy snow hits.
But these hapless cows were part of a missing herd caught in a sudden storm and entered the cabin for shelter, evidently too confused to find their way out they were trapped and died. The harsh Colorado winter froze them solid.
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But now the story takes a bizarre twist, what to do with the bodies of these cows before they thaw? Official are nervous the decomposing bodies could contaminate groundwater. They are also concerned the smell of decomposing cow would draw predators, like bears and mountain lions in the area and possibly cause hazards to hikers. So forest officials want the cows out.
Spring thaw is coming quickly so a decision has to be made soon. Many solutions have been proposed to deal with the problem, but nothing has been finalized yet due to classic bureaucratic nonsense that makes any simple problem a nightmare wrapped in red tape.
Instead of just lighting the cabin on fire and having a barbecue, there are concerns there might be "toxic" materials in the cabin, so tests must be made, then there's environmental concerns due to smoke-soot pollution, etc. Of course the other simple solution is bring a few trucks in, use chainsaws to cut up the frozen carcasses and haul them out. Can't do that because it's a wilderness area and no mechanized equipment is allowed in.
How about just helicoptering the carcasses out? An expensive proposition but one that wouldn't disturb the delicate wilderness area, but no, can't use a helicopter in this manner in this area.
The use of explosives has been suggested to blow up the cabin and it's contents. Since the cabin had already been slated for dismantling, it sounds feasible but all of the necessary studies have not been completed yet.
That might leave one last option before the thaw comes: Use hand saws and pack animals to haul away the thousand of pounds of beef.
Stay tuned to see how this eventually works out, I am sure a committee will come up with the perfect solution.