Homeless Rocky Mountains. Jack Healy

Nov 24, 2017, 03:53 AM

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Homeless Rocky Mountains. Jack Healy

“Yes, we’re homeless,” he said, sitting in the shade of his camper here in the Arapaho National Forest. “No, we’re not vagrants. No, we’re not beggars. We just barely are making it. What you see is by the grace of God.” To millions of adventurers and campers, America’s national forests are a boundless backyard for hiking trips, rafting, hunting and mountain biking. But for thousands of homeless people and hard-up wanderers, they have become a retreat of last resort. Forest law enforcement officers say they are seeing more dislocated people living off the land, often driven there by drug and alcohol addiction, mental health problems, lost jobs or scarce housing in costly mountain towns. And as officers deal with more emergency calls, drug overdoses, illegal fires and trash piles deep in the woods, tensions are boiling in places like Nederland that lie on the fringes of the United States’ forests and loosely patrolled public lands. “The anger is palpable,” said Hansen Wendlandt, the pastor at the Nederland Community Presbyterian Church. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/22/us/as-homeless-find-refuge-in-forests-anger-is-palpable-in-nearby-towns.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fearth&action=click&contentCollection=earth&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0