A former driver for a Florida company that sells four-wheel-drive accessories for trucks spray painted the firm’s name on multiple boulders in the Pearl Pass area near Aspen, sparking a U.S. Forest Service investigation.
Two longtime Aspenites who frequently use the area contacted the agency after seeing the words “Devolro Miami” and other phrases sprayed onto rocks.
Carl Buckingham said Friday that he discovered the vandalism in at least seven places near the old Montezuma mine.
He said the lettering was about a foot high and 6 feet wide.
“I was shocked,” Buckingham said. “We’ve never had anything like this. Is this new advertising protocol to just write your company name?”
Devolro Performance Cars Studio of North Miami, Fla., produces “high-quality off-road specialty equipment,” according to its website.
The website contains photos of souped-up trucks in front of the Maroon Bells, Greg Mace Peak and other locations.
Kris Calan, a Devolro project manager, said the company is aware of the situation.
“Last year one of our drivers ... took it a little too far and decided to spray [paint] all over,” he said.
The driver, who was fired after the incident came to light, was driving with a film crew from a truck show in Las Vegas when they stopped in the Aspen area last fall, Calan said.
“We only discovered it later on through emails from residents in your area,” he said.
Another company representative apologized to Aspen resident Cathy Mann when she called Devolro.
Mann, who hikes in the area, said the words are on huge boulders.
“I’m a Colorado native, and I just want it to disappear,” she said.
Buckingham, a four-wheel-drive enthusiast who’s been negotiating Pearl Pass for 23 years, said he’s working on that. Since finding the words, he has spent about 12 hours over a couple of days trying to erase the paint.
Consulting a friend who works in the stone restoration business, Buckingham said he’s been using two citrus-based solutions, a bristled brush, Formula 409 and then water. Progress is tedious.
“I’m trying to keep the lichen and not make a new stain,” Buckingham said. “I don’t want to grind into the rock.”
Meanwhile, the Forest Service is investigating Devolro, said Martha Moran, Aspen’s Forest Service recreation specialist. The agency is putting together an incident report.
“Carl gave us some good information, and there’s an ongoing investigation,” she said.
She applauded Buckingham, Mann and others who find and report such incidents.
“We don’t have the resources to be everywhere in the backcountry, so we appreciate them doing that,” she said. “That’s awesome.”
Asked if Devolro plans on taking any action to rectify the former driver’s actions, Calan said the company’s owner, manager and staff plan to meet about how to proceed.
Federal fines for defacing natural resources can range as high as $5,000, Moran said.