Frozen cows to be removed by hand-saw, fire and explosives don't meet green rules

Hand-saws will be used to cut up six frozen cows discovered in an abandoned Colorado mountain cabin as opposed to fire or explosives the Forest Service was considering to remove the carcasses before the spring thaw.

Federal officials are being forced to adhere to strict environmental regulations to dispose of the cows, which they say needs to be taken care before bears come out of hibernation and sniff out the corpses, which are in a popular hiking area near Aspen.

Forest Service officials initially said that blowing up the cabin or burning it down would be the fastest and most efficient means of meeting environmental regulations, which forbid the use of motorized vehicles or machinery.

But a Forest Service official told the Aspen Daily News Wednesday that fire and explosives “would have required environmental assessment work and that’s not the fastest way to go.”

Several ranch hands will make the nearly nine-mile hike to the cabin near the Conundrum Hot Springs this week, carrying the hand saws to cut up 6,000 consolidated pounds of frozen cow, and then will disperse the remains to speed up decomposition.

The cows were discovered in March by hikers and reported to the Forest Service, however another hiker is now telling reporters in Colorado that he saw the cows alive but trapped in the cabin after a November snowstorm. That hiker said he sent photos of the live cows to the rangers in hopes the cows would be rescued, but Forest Service officials say they never got the hiker’s email or photos.