The Forest Service is about to give away 228 acres of pristine Chris Park property, belonging to we the people of La Plata County, for $8,000 per acre or $1,824,000. "The market values for this exchange are; property of the non-Federal party $1,380,000.00, property of the United States, $1,824,000.00." The difference of $444,000 is to be paid in cash. (See page 3 of the Record of Decision at www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan/projects/projects.shtml.)
I don't know if Mark Stiles, who takes full credit for this outrage, is dishonest, incompetent or just dumb. Even a simple person like me who sees a horse pasture on the west side of the road sell for $27,000 per acre would think that the forest and parks on the east side of the road would be worth at least as much.
At this rate, the Chris Park property would be worth $6,129,000. So it appears that Stiles paid a ransom of more than $4,000,000 to Glacier Club for the Hermosa Park property.
Stiles has an obsession with obtaining the Hermosa Park property. He is apparently even willing to misappropriate millions of dollars of taxpayer assets to make it happen.
If the Chris Park property was valued at its highest and best use value, which is apparently lots for luxury trophy homes and golf courses, it would be worth more than $100,000 per acre or $22,800,000.The equalizing payment in the exchange should have been at least $4 million and maybe as much as $20 million instead of the paltry $444,000 that Stiles settled for. The Glacier Club will recoup its investment by selling less than four of the planned lots.
Stiles, our senators and Rep. John Salazar received hundreds of letters in opposition to this land grab. They all chose to turn their backs on the more than 75 percent of the people of the Four Corners who thought this exchange was a bad idea, according to a poll published in the Herald on June 6.
Another reason to vote out all incumbents in November!
Grover Barker, Durango