Steve Bedigian lives off potatoes from a hole in the ground and wouldn’t want it any other way. Park County feels otherwise…
Steve Bedigian, fondly known as the “Flag Man,” is sticking it to society by way of tents, flags, art and potatoes. Off-the-grid living is a dream for most, and Bedigian is living it.
Steve Bedigian is living the best version of his life at 9,000 feet above sea level with his sweet dogs Froggy and Runty (who eat well!), mostly eating potatoes and thriving off freedom.
Steve has had his 6-acre parcel in South Park for 40 years. It sat mostly empty until Bedigian decided to move in and start creating his sculpture garden, named “Sergeant Mike’s” after his father who served in the Marines.
They call him the Flag Man because of the multiple flying flags around his property. He allows the flags to fly and become tattered to represent the scars men like his father earned and suffered for while serving and in life.
While Steve Bedigian sees his style of living as perfectly sustainable and his flag flying tribute as exactly that, others around the area feel otherwise.
Complaints were made by several locals for the “disrespect” of the flags. But that created a bigger issue with the county. While Steve Bedigian sees a free man’s utopia of art, patriotism and potatoes, South Park County sees a six acre trash heap. This is a problem for them, because Steve’s plot is surrounded by other residential plots, alongside a major highway. The county has a ban on rubbish, and a ban on permanent camping.
Park County has been seeing this problem arise in more plots than just Steve’s. Apparently, many people are flocking to the county and buying up cheap plots meant for residents planning on building homes and residences. Even though those in the development department wanted to be as fair as possible to the residences of South Park – after long debates they tightened regulations on camping on residential land, to push building homes up to code.
A letter was sent to these residing campers (160 Letters) warning them that they need to comply to zoning rules, which went into place just this May. Otherwise they may risk being kicked off their land. Some are cooperating, and the county is actively working with these individuals to work out their situations to be able to keep their land.
Steve Bedigian, on the other hand, does not want to comply. “It should not be tolerated. I will not tolerate it. No one should tolerate it.”
Steve has owned this land for over 40 years, and believes he has the right to do what he wants on it. Comparing himself to the builder of Bishops Castle, he is a man on a mission. He is currently fighting a civil lawsuit from the county over the “rubbish rule.” If the county wins, they will most likely foreclose on the land and sell it to pay for the rubbish removal. Even if he did clean up, the “no camping” rule would still be in effect.
Steve Bedigian revealed that he is suffering from both colon cancer and melanoma and isn’t long for this world. His only wish is to keep his off the grid piece of heaven until he dies.
Steven welcomes anyone who wants to shout some Freedom to head to Sgt. Mike’s – “…What could the Winter of an American’s life appreciate more–when those Stars & Stripes mean to him who has been to, through, or lived in 40 countries across the globe–FREEDOM! Come to Sgt. Mike’s Sculptured Gardens Fountains & Fabled Abodes and have a shout yourself.”
What do you think about Steve Bedigian and Sergeant Mike’s? Let us know your thoughts!
(Story Broke: 9News, Brandon Rittiman, Denver)