The Crestone Eagle, April 2003:

Closing date on the Baca Ranch extended, Dunes north entrance through the Baca to be debated
by David Nicholas

Steve Chaney, Superintendent of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve, announced on Tuesday, March 25 that the April 30 deadline for the transfer of the Baca Ranch to take place between Vaca Partners and The Nature Conservancy has been extended to August 31. The Baca Ranch is part of the plan for the National Monument to be upgraded to a National Park.

The new date is to allow for Vaca Partners to complete the outstanding law suits still not resolved. The other outstanding case by junior partner, Peter Hornick, has yet to have its day in court. Hornick asks that his 12.5% interest be recognized in any sale of the ranch; that, as the sale price is far less than the ranch is worth, the sale should be denied; and that he is entitled to about $67 million in compensation and punitive damages. Save for the first claim, the others have little chance of success.

Right now, it does delay things, but Chaney says that he is hopeful that all the claims will be resolved by the end of May. Deep breaths.

The north entrance furor
Since the National Park Service's town meeting at the POA Hall in February, rumors that the National Park was planning a north entrance off County Road T have abounded.

This first route of the so-called north entrance was said to go through the Baca Subdivision, utilizing the road system to the southern boundary of the subdivision/park boundary.

The next route is rumored to be a continuation of the new road recently created from CR T by the Baca Grande Water and Sanitation District, which goes to the district’s sewer lagoons at the stables, and to extend this down to the subdivision/park boundary following the edge of the Baca subdivision’s western side—a road which will be open to all traffic 24 hours a day.

The third route is rumored to enter the Baca Ranch's headquarters on CR T and to continue down through the future wildlife refuge to the park boundary—access open to all traffic 24/7.

"These ideas were raised at the management plan meeting in February," said Chaney. "Various attendees raised the issue. The push for it is coming from here." Not, as was rumored, from elected Federal representatives.

In order to answer residents’ questions on this and other park issues, both Park Superintendent Steve Chaney and Baca Wildlife Refuge Manager Mike Blenden will be on hand for an informal question and answer session at the Desert Sage Restaurant in Crestone on April 10, from 1-3pm.

Back to Archives Page

Subscribe to the Eagle!