History of Colorado Wild Public Lands:
In 2009, Western Land Group, a private land exchange brokerage based in Denver, CO came to central Colorado with two different proposals for land exchanges between the United States Bureau of Land Management and private individuals.
Both the Bear Ranch Exchange in Gunnison County and the Sutey Ranch (Two Shoes) Land Exchange in Pitkin County were to occur through federal legislation.
WLG needed local support before the state delegation would propose the legislation.
As the two counties share a large border, information began to flow among the various communities.
We realized that there were dozens of affluent individuals purchasing large rural properties surrounding the beautiful mountain ranges connecting our communities.
These two coincidental land exchanges were only the beginning of all the public land use patterns that these dozens of newcomers had the potential to influence and reduce.
The two land exchanges also had the attention of Western Lands Project in Seattle, an organization which watchdogs land exchanges all around the country.
WLP helped gather the local critique of the exchanges, guiding efforts to demand public debate and evaluation of the exchanges.
As a result, these efforts have quieted the Gunnison County proposal, and encouraged improvements and more public process for the Pitkin County proposal, which 5 years later in 2014, is still undergoing evaluation by the BLM through an Environmental Assessment (EA).
This advocacy takes a great amount of time, effort, education, and money; as a result, we formed Colorado Wild Public Lands to help organize local resources against the potential of outside influence over our public lands and assets.
We are closely watching every step of the Sutey Land Exchange NEPA process and ensuring that the BLM is adhering to the laws and regulations governing its evaluation process.
What also concerns us is what we see as a large disparity in the appraised real estate values that the BLM is currently using to evaluate the monetary aspects of the exchange.
We believe the values used will short-change the public.
We are working to ensure that the Sutey Exchange is a fair and equal exchange in every way or that it not proceed.