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Pillaging is the correct term.

As someone working in the ski industry in Pagosa this winter, it's a sad thought that this development could happen. The tax money wouldn't go to Pagosa or Archuleta County, where a majority of the infrastructure and employment resides. The development and jobs "Red" and his cronies speak so highly of would be short lived for the area. Yes, it would provide more jobs at the village but ultimately take jobs, taxes, interest, and much more away from Pagosa and South Fork. Think Summit County, Vail valley, etc.

Another rich Texan, and yes Red and his lawyers reside in Texas, gettin' rich off Colorado land. Haven't we seen this shit before?
 

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I must say that I'm a bit surprised at people being against this move. Personally, I'm against building a huge base area in a wetland, and a land swap seems like a great way to rectify the situation. To each his own I guess....
 

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Casey, it boils down to he can do a trade because he has money. You and I can't.

From the article: The proposed trade would exchange 178 acres of private land for 204 acres of Forest Service land a bit farther away from Wolf Creek Ski Area. A Forest Service land appraisal suggested the federal land is worth less than the private land.

If the 204 is truly less then why trade? Obviously it's not worth less. And if you or I try to get 10 acres here and trade for 5 there we'll get the flat out NO and they wouldn't look twice at us. Classic example of tax payer funded land being whored out to the rich.
 

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Casey, it boils down to he can do a trade because he has money. You and I can't. Actually, I can't because I don't own land on Wolf Creeek Pass to trade.

From the article: The proposed trade would exchange 178 acres of private land for 204 acres of Forest Service land a bit farther away from Wolf Creek Ski Area. A Forest Service land appraisal suggested the federal land is worth less than the private land. My read is that the land is worth less per acre (thus thus the swap of 178 acres for 204 acres).

If the 204 is truly less then why trade? Obviously it's not worth less. And if you or I try to get 10 acres here and trade for 5 there we'll get the flat out NO and they wouldn't look twice at us. Classic example of tax payer funded land being whored out to the rich. I think the above explanation will help you here.
-Casey
 

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Firstly, I would agree that if they are going to develop, don't do it in the wet land.

In the letter of the law: Yes, you could trade if you owned land. In the politics of the law you have to have a lot of money or a significant contribution. That'swhat they are hoping for for in this deal (save the wetland). It looks innocuous on paper: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/Information_Resources_Management/policy/blm_handbook.Par.72089.File.dat/h2200-1.pdf but in practice, it's not simple and it's often used in a manner that can be deemed very much against the public good.

As far as valuation goes, who is appraising it? Can you think of any circumstances where the sale of public land was done so without proper oversight and for values far below what they should have been?

There are so many facets into this when you look at the way a transaction can be done. Give or take one acre per side and all of the sudden it doesn't meet the criteria. Is this land swap, given that he probably can't develop the wet land anyhow, will the public interests be truly served or will it be commercial interests?

Take a look at that and this document for the process: http://www.blm.gov/flpma/FLPMA.pdf
 

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Hojo-
I get your point. Unfortunately, on issues where people feel passionately that someone is doing wrong, they can often get blinded and expect a conspiracy. Then, when they point out these "conspiracy" issues, they undercut their argument and come off as wackos.
-The valuation of said properties is an example. The idea that the total value is unbalanced (when to me it seemed pretty obvious in the article that the value of an acre is unbalanced...and thus the acreage difference in the swap). When pointed out, all of a sudden the "giveaway" has no thrust in the argument and the person on that side of the issue looks like wacko.
-Another example is saying things like "who exactly is doing this appraisal?" In the article it clearly says a "Forest Service land appraisal". My assumption is that it is either the Forest Service doing the appraisal, or they have a set of guidelines that the 3rd party appraiser must follow. Either way, if it is a concern, research it! Don't imply that there is wrong doing, just because you don't know.

Ultimately, I don't think I'd get along with Ol Red, but at least his motivations are transparent (to make as much money off his land as possible). In this issue, everyone needs to ask themself what their motivations are and whether or not they are applying them equitably. Am I against this because he's from Texas? Am I against every Texan? Jack Johnson? Lee Harvey Oswald (bad example)?

Me personally, I just like the process and the debate.
 

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Hojo-

-Another example is saying things like "who exactly is doing this appraisal?" In the article it clearly says a "Forest Service land appraisal". My assumption is that it is either the Forest Service doing the appraisal, or they have a set of guidelines that the 3rd party appraiser must follow. Either way, if it is a concern, research it! Don't imply that there is wrong doing, just because you don't know.

Ultimately, I don't think I'd get along with Ol Red, but at least his motivations are transparent (to make as much money off his land as possible). In this issue, everyone needs to ask themself what their motivations are and whether or not they are applying them equitably. Am I against this because he's from Texas? Am I against every Texan? Jack Johnson? Lee Harvey Oswald (bad example)?

Me personally, I just like the process and the debate.
Conspiracy is usually always based in some sort of truth or fact: Federal audit blasts Denver Stapleton airport land deals - The Denver Post Surely this was appraised according to policies and procedures. Surely someone checked to see if Tom Cruise's land was actually ag. land. $400 in taxes? I guarantee if I put a sheep on my land and try to get an ag break the assessor would laugh me out of his office.

If a developer want's to develop then he can do like he's supposed to and buy the land. Land trades can be grossly abused.

Protecting public land is important to me. I fear we will have no public land. When I see a land deal that slowly sucks away land I get concerned. Red may be transparent but that doesn't mean what he is attempting to do is right. Red may not grease the wheels (or he may) but too many have done so before him and that is cause enough to be very leery.
 

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Just to drive my point home about land values... http://www.westlx.org/landtradesfraught.pdf The top two abuses of land trade deals: poor assessment and deals of questionable public benefit. I would say my caution on the side of "this deal stinks" is justified based on precedent. Not to say that you're not being fair and open for discussion.
 

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Irony- questioning a federal land appraisal by using a city/state land appraisal that was found to be shady by a federal audit.

Irony- Going after a developer who hopes to build a village next to a ski area in hopes that you can protect public land. His land is private and the ski area land is public. (Granted he was asking for an easement across public land.)

Ultimately, wouldn't it be easier to go after the ski area? If you get the Forest Service to revoke the permit, then the ski area closes and then you lack the incentive to build a village on top of a mountain pass. Just sayin.
 

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I think the term you're looking for his hypocrisy. And "a" shady land deal? I think they said something like, "The GAO report was the 11th government audit in the past four years to criticize land exchanges -- the 12th was
issued just days ago by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

From where I sit, his ownership of that land is protection enough since he can't build on it. And the major difference is that the ski area is occupying land that's still public and still under the rules of land management. Sorry, but land developers have a history of pillaging. If it goes though with legitimacy then I'll be less concerned. If the locals don't want it and it goes through I'll be sad that money won out over public interest.
 

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I think the term you're looking for his hypocrisy. And "a" shady land deal? I think they said something like, "The GAO report was the 11th government audit in the past four years to criticize land exchanges -- the 12th was
issued just days ago by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Agriculture."
Ok, I get it...but I still want to know what is shady about this Forest Service land appraisal? I'm ok with being upset if there is something to be upset about. I'm just not sure that there is something to be upset about in this instance. What is it? Share it with others so that they too can point out the injustices during the public comment time.

From where I sit, his ownership of that land is protection enough since he can't build on it. And the major difference is that the ski area is occupying land that's still public and still under the rules of land management. Sorry, but land developers have a history of pillaging. If it goes though with legitimacy then I'll be less concerned. If the locals don't want it and it goes through I'll be sad that money won out over public interest.
Two things-
-Land developers may have a history of pillaging, but they also built my house. I'd have to be a hypocrite to point fingers while at the same time sitting back and reaping benefits from them.
-Unfortunately, locals aren't the only ones who own the land. It is federal land and belongs to all the citizens. Local voice should be considered, but not to the exclusion of all the other voices.
 

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Two things-
-Land developers may have a history of pillaging, but they also built my house. I'd have to be a hypocrite to point fingers while at the same time sitting back and reaping benefits from them.
-Unfortunately, locals aren't the only ones who own the land. It is federal land and belongs to all the citizens. Local voice should be considered, but not to the exclusion of all the other voices.
When I see 204 for 178 I get concerned. Not the biggest of disproportionate values but it means a gross loss of our public land. That is an injustice, no matter how slight. Sadly, we will see more and more go if we stay on this idea of deficit=bad. How did Regan get away with it anyhow?

As far as the necessary evils of living in built structures, there are more and less responsible ways to do it. But this deal is not about shelter for the masses, it's about profit at the expense of losing public lands.
 

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The REAL Issue here is that so many people love Wolf Creek (myself included), this tiny, awesome old-school ski hill that gets wicked snow. And the lovers of Wolf Creek just don't like the idea of some out of state land developer wanker wrecking the place. I also think Wolf Creek Pass is a pretty extreme place (snow, wind, avalanche, cold) and have a hard time seeing how you could build a successful housing resort in such an environment without doing some harm to the area.
 

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My objection to this deal.

Guy buys a beaver pond wetland that can't be developed. Then, when it is determined it can't be developed, is rewarded with a land swap for developable acerage. Not a NIMBY in general, but if a guy plays the system like this, it makes me a bit angry. There was a reason he got that land cheap.

I don't see wolf creek as being a big resort ever. Just too far from any airport. The poulation centers in the vacinity are already serviced by Purgatory, Santa Fe and Toas. If they want to throw up a few condo's, I just dont see a major difference in skier numbers. A few hotel owners down valley on either side would have some impact for sure.
 

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I'm playing devil's advocate (it helps people examine their position for flaws)
-You can build in wetlands. It is done all the time. You do have to replace those wetlands.

-I can think of no reasoning why one would be against the village and for the ski area or vice versa (why it is ok for one group to clear-cut and replace with concrete and steel, but not another).

-The environmental impact of the ski area is astronomical to anything Red has done up to this point and will probably still be much larger if ol Red gets his way.
 

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I'm playing devil's advocate (it helps people examine their position for flaws)
-You can build in wetlands. It is done all the time. You do have to replace those wetlands.
That is irrelevant. In this particular case they are not allowed to build on these wetlands.

-I can think of no reasoning why one would be against the village and for the ski area or vice versa (why it is ok for one group to clear-cut and replace with concrete and steel, but not another).
A ski area services many, while a development services far fewer, in this particular case at the cost of another recreational area.


-The environmental impact of the ski area is astronomical to anything Red has done up to this point and will probably still be much larger if ol Red gets his way.
I don't know enough about the area or details to provide a strong case against this. I think a cumulative impact argument looking at all development established and likely in the future will tear down this objection.
 

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What it has tuned me into is that at some point, when the politicians decide to ignore deficits again, I'll write a letter that states the following:

I would like to see the land swap agreement amended to read that the land offered must both be of a higher value but also equal to or greater than the land desired. The general accessibility and terrain of the offered land must also be of similar or more accessible (accessible in terms of right-of-way). The land desired may not enclose or hinder access to surrounding public lands.

This would be in direct response to those buying up desert acres and swapping for pristine alpine land which subsequently cuts off a general right of way to more public land. That shit pisses me off. There are spots on the BLM maps that has public land completely surrounded by private land.
 
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