STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A piece of Colorado's history was vandalized sometime around July 4, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Someone broke several windows and the door of the Hahn's Peak Lookout near Steamboat. The U.S. Forest Service estimated the damage is at least $5,000.
The Hahns Peak Lookout in north Routt County is one of the oldest fire lookout towers in Colorado, a popular day hike, and a year-round destination for back-country enthusiasts. Restoration of the building and hiking trail was completed in 2017. Over $100,000 was spent by multiple organizations to renovate the historic property.
Emily Katzman, the executive director of Historic Routt County, said the vandalism is disrespectful.
"We all share these places, they're on public land and they belong to all of us," Katzman said. "And we should treat them as if they belong to us."
She said they were already having problems with people carving into the building's wood.
"Take interest in our historic places and what they tell us about our history. Who we are, where we came from. Because those are important lessons," Katzman said. "Historic structures are such a tangible way to learn those lessons it's important to take care of them."
Originally a stone shelter, Hahns Peak Lookout was built by the U.S. Forest Service in 1908 at 10,839 feet elevation. Four years later, more than one ton of cement and building materials were packed up to the site at the top of Hahns Peak, known traditionally as Old Baldy, to build a permanent lookout tower.
The Lookout was enlarged and modernized around 1942, however, use of the site decreased in the late 1940s. The conclusion of World War II eliminated the need for staffing fire lookouts as a part of the war effort and Hahns Peak Lookout was taken off-line.
The U.S Forest Service and Routt County Sheriff's office are working together to find who broke the Hahn's Peak Lookout's windows and door. Call the Sheriff's Office at 970-879-1090 or Routt County Crime Stoppers at 970-870-6226.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest. You can remain anonymous.