Sutey deal not in public’s best interest | AspenTimes.com

Sutey deal not in public’s best interest

Dear Editor:

We are writing to express our deep concern and opposition to the proposed Sutey Land Exchange for the following reasons:

Once public land is gone, it is gone. Wilderness and open space are precious commodities not to be traded away for short-term, recreational gains. Even if public land is difficult to access and maintain, its value lies in its very existence.

This two-for-one acreage exchange is not equitable, no matter how you figure the ever-changing monetary values.

This proposal, along with Wexner’s multiple other property acquisitions in the Crystal Valley, severely decreases access to Mount Sopris. How can we let him do that? This is not in the public interest, although it appears to serve the special interests of a specific recreational group, not the public at large.

The fact that the proponents of this exchange are funding the processing for this transaction illustrates that this is not for the general public good. Can public land be bought so easily?

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While the Wexner family may be good stewards of the land, the fact remains that this precious wild space, at the base of Mount Sopris, will enter the private domain probably forever. This entire proposal is so shortsighted. Our long-range vision appears to be blurred by short-term, immediate recreational rewards – and by money.

Why do proponents of this deal think that private property owners will do a better job than the BLM, whose specific mission is to protect land forever in the interest of the entire public, including wildlife?

Pitkin County has been called greedy for wanting to acquire more open space. We applaud Pitkin County for its efforts to acquire and protect as much public land as possible. Public land is true wealth.

John J. McCormick and Diane Kenney

Carbondale

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