Peak 1 flag to be replaced
Seems the shelf life for an American flag atop a 12,800-foot peak is almost exactly one year.The flag serving as a memorial for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which has stood in the wind and weather that rakes the summit of Peak 1 for nearly one year, has recently torn in two. Today, for the fifth time since September 2001, a group of Summit County residents will make the trek to the top of the mountain to place a fresh American flag on the peak.”It’s the same people that helped put it up in the beginning,” said Kurt Kizer, who has organized the annual hike.Kizer was planning to spend Friday night on the mountain camping just below tree-line, then meet up with friends due to leave Frisco early this morning. They hope to have the flag replaced by noon. The group consists of at least five people, but there will be no formal gathering of participants.”Everyone is more than welcome to hike up,” Kizer said. “I really don’t know what to expect.”Last year’s memorial created a stir when vandals, likely making a political statement, burned the flag shortly after it was placed in September, 2003. Kizer and the group replaced the flag soon after, and it has stood until today. The vandals were never caught or identified.Kizer is trying to keep the event politically neutral, which may be difficult this year, ahead of November’s presidential election.”It’s a weird year with the political situation, so I’m trying to keep it as low key as possible so no one thinks it’s for anything other than what it’s really for,” he said.Another controversy surrounding the flag is its status as a memorial on public lands. The Forest Service usually does not allow such a display but has not done any enforcement in this case.Peak 1 is in the White River National Forest under the jurisdiction of the Dillon Ranger District.Kizer and the Dillon Ranger District are working together to find a permanent home for the memorial.”We’re hoping to have that resolved in the next six months,” said Esther Mellott of the Dillon Ranger District.At that time the flag would be permanently removed from Peak 1 and placed on nonpublic lands.Jason Starr can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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