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
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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