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.
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