How We Got Started

In 2009, members of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board were tasked with evaluating a proposed land exchange in Pitkin County that was initiated by private individuals. The proposal was a land exchange between the private parties (proponent) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Step one was to find out "What was a land exchange (LEX) all about?" While researching land exchange proposals, another proposal was identified in Gunnison County. It was identical to the first, and the two were being brokered by the same consulting firm

With our new knowledge, we connected with local communities, reached out, and raised awareness about the two land exchange proposals, their connections and their potential to NOT be in the public interest.

We learned that land exchanges are controversial, often dividing communities, and that the evaluation process often discounts public values. As a result of our work and communities' engagement, these efforts quieted the Bear Ranch, Gunnison County proposal, and encouraged improvements and more public process for the Sutey Ranch, Pitkin County proposal.

Such advocacy requires a great amount of time, effort, education, and money; in 2014, we founded Colorado Wild Public Lands (CWPL) to help communities address public lands issues. CWPL helps organize local resources to evaluate, monitor, comment on, and influence, potential changes to public lands and assets.