There's nothing like a mountain community scorned. As Colorado's Fremont County weighs its decision on whether to grant a land use permit to public artist Christo so he can hang a series of translucent fabric panels above the Arkansas River, hundreds of opponents and supporters gathered at two public meetings this week, in Canon City and Cotopaxi, Colorado. The county's board of commissioners could decide on whether to grant a temporary land use permit for the project as soon as its February 28 meeting.
Christo and his vocal supporters say the art will draw tourism and dollars to the communities along the river. Opponents say the work will hamper traffic on Highway 50, endanger public health and hurt wildlife along the river, and they've escalated their fight this week, filing a lawsuit that claims the Bureau of Land Management violated federal land management and environmental laws when it approved the project late last year. Christo says it's all part of the process.