Ragged Mountain land exchange to be reintroduced in next session

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., won’t pursue until next session a land exchange in the Ragged Mountains that is being sought by one of his most reliable campaign contributors.

There are not enough days remaining in the legislative year to go forward with Salazar’s H.R. 5059, which includes a land exchange that would tie together parts of the Bear Ranch now separated by public land, Salazar said Thursday during a meeting with The Daily Sentinel editorial board.

In exchange for some 1,800 acres of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management between Paonia Reservoir and Ragged Mountain, the federal government would get land overlooking Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Dillon Pinnacles, as well as property sought by the National Park Service in Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument.

The exchange includes trail improvements in Gunnison County and the acquisition of land near Marble.

Salazar said he will press for a field hearing on the proposed trade when he reintroduces the measure.

Appraisals of the land involved, as well as public involvement, are needed to determine whether the trade would be a benefit to the public, Salazar said.

“If it’s not in the best interest of the public,” Salazar said, “it shouldn’t be done.”


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