Political and class issues complicate a Colorado land dispute
Written byJACK HEALY, New York Times
This is a story of a quiet billionaire and a middle-class mountain town, of class divisions, small-town quarrels and competing visions of the future of the West. But at its core, like so many stories here in the aspen-dappled hillsides, it is really all about land.
Specifically, it is about a belt of public land that cuts straight through a ranch owned by the industrialist Bill Koch, whose brothers Charles and David are top contributors to conservative Republican causes.
Three years back, Mr. Koch offered a deal to the government that would let him combine the north and south halves of his 4,500-acre Bear Ranch. He would acquire the federally owned corridor that splits his property and four smaller public plots, a total of 1,690 acres.
In return, he would donate two smaller but more valuable and often visited private parcels to the National Park Service: one in the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, the other near a dazzling reservoir about 70 miles from here. He also promised to build 23 miles of trails and new access routes to the forest and wilderness.VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE