Dear Editor:

My name is Becky Guilliams. I am a teacher at Pagosa Springs High School. As I read the article from Betty Slade, in her column “Artist’s Lane,” I was taken back to a memory of a wet, rainy night this summer. Several things made this a memorable night. I remember working a very long, hard day building a new fence on our private property. As we departed from our property, we saw headlights a long way off the main road where a vehicle shouldn’t be. The main road was slick from the rain, so we hoped we could get ahead of the vehicle to see their license plate in order to turn that information over to the proper authorities for destruction of public property. As we turned a corner, there was a small white pickup over 100 yards off the main road. We caught up to the vehicle. I told my husband, “I know that pickup. We have worked on it in the shop several times.” We stopped the vehicle. I shouted out to the student because I was angry about the ruts he was making and the grass he was tearing up with his pickup. The “F” word is not allowed in my shop. (I asked my husband if I used the “F” word because I did not remember. He said “No.”) After the confrontation, the students in the pickup sped off in the opposite direction, toward our property. Each time the white pickup caught up with us, it took off rapidly on another private property access road. As we approached the house of the caretaker for the Hershey Ranch, we once again blocked their escape. The occupants of the white truck were approached by the caretaker and my husband to point out the legality of the choices they had made that day concerning the destruction of both personal and public lands. We were contacted by the U.S. Forest Service for a location of the property destruction. We met with and provided statements to the destruction for the US Forest Service about the property destruction.

Many of the female teachers at Pagosa Springs High School felt libeled by this article. I want to accept responsibility and Paul Harvey would say something about that being “the rest of the story.” I contacted the editor. He felt that there was nothing wrong with the article Betty Slade wrote. He told me to put something in the letters to the editor. So here is the letter to the editor. Breaking the law is wrong and should be dealt with that way. I do not think what was done by my family and the caretaker of the Hershey Ranch was wrong. I also do not think that my colleagues should be plagued by negative journalism over something that was done in an effort to protect national forest and private property.

Becky Guilliams

This story was posted on October 17, 2012.