Breckenridge Says Isak The Trail Troll Has Got To Go

November 14, 2018
Photo: Breck Troll 2 | Isak Heartstone - SWolf
Breckenridge's “Isak Heartstone,” a public art installation by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, as seen Oct. 23, 2018. 

​​Published 9:04 a.m. | Updated 12:47 p.m.

Update 11.15.2018: Breckenridge has started to dismantl Isak Heartstone.

Isak Heartstone the Breckenridge trail troll has met his end.

Town council members voted Tuesday night to remove the wildly popular temporary art installation. The council said winter weather conditions had affected the troll’s “structural and aesthetic integrity” leading to increased concerns about public safety.

The nonprofit Breckenridge Creative Arts commissioned Danish artist Thomas Dambo to create the $40,000 temporary sculpture for last August’s 2018 Breckenridge International Festival of Arts. Known for his troll sculptures around the world, Dambo built the troll from recycled wood with the intention that Isak would eventually break down naturally. The troll happily sat along the town’s Wellington Trail contently stacking rocks.

The unexpected popularity of the mythical creature riled nearby residents, who complained about illegal parking, noise and trash left from Isak’s many visitors.

Photo: Breck Troll 3 | Isak Heartstone Trail Sign - SWolf
The trail sign that points the way for visitors to find Isak the troll.

Town council had decided in late October to leave Isak be, in the hopes that mitigation efforts, such as additional trash cans, signage, fencing and police presence, as well as a concerted push to get visitors to take a free shuttle bus, would alleviate some of the neighbors’ woes.

While council more recently came to the decision to remove the troll, members stressed that they thought the artwork was a “home run,” and repeatedly applauded BreckCreate for its work, according to the Summit Daily. Council members said this had been “a learning experience.”

BreckCreate president and CEO Robb Woulfe said he and his team “are thrilled that the artwork was enjoyed by thousands of people from both near and far.”

Dambo told CPR News he thinks of his trolls as “part of a fairytale I’m writing one sculpture at a time.” In a Facebook post shared on the artist’s page following the town council’s removal vote, Dambo pleaded with followers to help him find a new home for the troll.

“I think it’s incredible that a pile of scrap wood can create so many feelings, experiences and emotions and I think it teaches us how important it is to recycle and not just discard the materials and products we use,” Dambo wrote. “But because of this I also think it would be a disaster if all the time, love and effort put in to building this giant friendly troll would go to waste.”

Isak was built with the help of volunteers from the nearby neighborhood, Dambo pointed out.

Photo: Breck Troll 4 | Isak Heartstone and Boy - SWolf
A young boy carefully approaches Isak Heartstone on a pile of rocks, Oct. 23, 2018.

Originally, town officials released a statement that said “immediate action was necessary. The sculpture will be de-installed as soon as logistically possible and dependent upon weather.”

Later on Wednesday, the town of Breckenridge sent out an updated statement, which said officials and BreckCreate “are in communication with the artist in terms of safely de-installing and storing the artwork with the possibility of a reinstall at a new location at an unknown future date.”

Since the town has never had to remove and reinstall a large artwork before, town staff is in the midst of determining the costs and logistics of Isak’s potential relocation.

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