The Crestone Eagle, November 2003:

$9M allocated for Baca Ranch purchase

US Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colorado) announced Wednesday, October 29, that $9 million had been allocated in the 2004 Federal Budget toward the purchase of the Baca Ranch. The allocation comes as a result of the conference committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives and brings the Great Sand Dunes National Monument one step closer to National Park status. It is expected that this version of the 2004 Budget should pass in both houses of the US Congress without amendment.

This brings the total allocated towards the purchase of the ranch to $30 million. Just $2 million shy of the $32 million purchase price—money which should be allocated in the 2005 Federal Budget.

Allard had actually $11 million allocated in the Senate version of the 2004 Budget, but the House of Representatives had been reticent to make any such determination in the Department of the Interior’s budget. That the $9 million allocation appears as a specific line item at all is due largely to the fact that the chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee has become open and Senator Allard, as the ranking Republican, is the front-runner to fill the position.

Progress on the sale of the Baca Ranch by Vaca Partners, which includes a 50% interest by Yale University, to the Nature Conservancy is still dependent on a suit brought by Peter Hornick. Hornick is a disaffected partner claiming damages against Vaca partners and the now defunct holding company, Cabeza de Vaca Land and Cattle Company. The suit will be heard in February 2004.

Once the suit is decided and the sale is finalized, it appears now that the Nature Conservancy will hold the ranch for one year. Under the terms of the sale, the Colorado State Lands Board will control the operation of the ranch during this period until the agencies of the Federal Government involved in the sale take possession.

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