Last updated 2:06AM ET
December 13, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
La Plata Commissioners Weigh In On Hermosa Land Swap
(2007-07-31)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: The La Plata County Board of County Commissioners has weighed in officially on the so-called Hermosa Land Swap, but not the way hundreds of area residents would have liked.
KSUT's Victor Locke Reports.

VICTOR: 12-hundred people signed petitions presented to the commissioners, urging them to adopt a resolution calling for an end to what's officially known as the Hermosa Land Swap, but referred to by some as the Chris Park, and Haviland Lake giveaways.
The Forest Service's is studying giving up 265 Acres east of highway 550, South of Chris Park where the Glacier Club wants to build 9 new holes for golf with adjacent homes.
In return, the Forest Service would get two 160 acre parcels surrounded by San Juan National Forest west of 550.
In addition to a resolution asking for an end to the land swap, the commissioner's staff presented a letter to the forest service expressing concerns.
More than a dozen people spoke, most urging approval of the resolution as a strong statement by the county.
Several, like Michael Black, say they don't think it would be a fair trade.
BLACK: HOUSES ARE GOING IN PLACES WE NEVER EVER THOUGHT PEOPLE WOULD BE PUTTING HOUSES. SO, TO GIVE UP ANY PUBLIC LANDS IN THIS CORRIDOR IS A HUGE MISTAKE BECAUSE IN THE FUTURE THAT'S LIABLE TO BE THE ONLY LAND THAT'S UNDEVELOPED.
Others say they don't want to lose the recreational opportunities the land along 550 presents.
And a few, like Thomas Eckinrode, made emotional pleas.
ECKINRODE: THIS IS NOT EASY FOR ME, AS I'M SURE IT IS FOR MOST PEOPLE, BUT I THINK THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE SHOULD JUST LEAVE THINGS ALONE. I BELIEVE THAT WITH ALL MY HEART AND I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THOSE TIMES.
Adam Poe is president of Western Land Group which is negotiating the land swap for Glacier Club.
He admitted to the commissioners, the deal isn't perfect, yet.
POE: WE'RE COMMITTED, WE'VE ALREADY REDUCED THE SIZE OF THE PARCEL TO PARTIALLY AVOID THOSE IMPACTS.
Poe, and a few others told the commissioners they need to stay involved in the process, and the proposed resolution would take them away from the table.
The letter from the county expresses concern about the proposal, and asks the Forest Service to take a closer look at eleven issues including whether the trade is equitable.
Commissioner Kellie Hotter made a motion to adopt the letter over the resolution, saying doing so keeps the commissioners engaged in the process.
HOTTER: THERE IS SOME VALIDITY TO THE PROCESS. WE CLEARLY STATED IN THIS LETTER, THAT BASED ON COMMENTS WE RECEIVED FROM RESIDENTS OF LAPLATA COUNTY REGARDING THE PROPOSED LAND EXCHANGE WE ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE CURRENT PROPOSAL. I THINK THAT THAT'S PRETTY STRONG LANGUAGE, BUT IN DOING THAT, AS FAR AS MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION, I THINK THAT ALLOWS US TO SEE WHAT COMES OUT OF THE NEXT PHASE AND THEN DECIDE WHEN AND WHERE WE MEASURE IN.
Commission Chair Wally White said he personally opposes the land exchange but agreed with Hotter the commissioners need to stay involved.
By a 3-0 vote, the commissioners agreed to submit the letter to the Forest Service, reserving the right to weigh in later with a resolution against the exchange.
Public comments on the exchange are being accepted by the Forest Service until August 10th.
More public comment would be sought, sometime next year, after the Forest Service completes an environmental analysis of the land swap.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.

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