Think hard about land deal
The Sutey-Two Shoes trade has people eager to give up beautiful Sopris lands and healthy big horn sheep, elk and deer habitat for John Sutey’s wonderful irrigated bowl, at 2 public acres for 1 private. The call to give away the Sopris land has come with the thought that if it is privatized it will somehow be better for the wildlife.
Though Pitkin County has thoughtfully put together a plan that equitably adds to the public domain a critical sheep habitat above Potato Bill Creek and a much needed access way for forest officials to manage the herd, the thought has been injected that the sheep are better off on private lands, managed by their owner.
It is important to note that the herd would be vulnerable to lucrative hunts. See High Country News “Prodigal Dogs” to learn how large spreads are managed as private hunting grounds. Once the ownership is contiguous, a new owner will manage his land as he sees fit.
The thought that the land being in private hands somehow protects the herd is manufactured and ludicrous. I know of no private land owner who doesn’t feel that his property can be altered at whim, be it having enough pets to turn a yard into a dustbowl to razing a meadow and forest for planting familiar landscapes. We do as we please on our personal property.
There is very little opportunity for public enforcement on private lands. This is even truer on inaccessible land where the owner aggressively excludes the public and double-gates and double-locks it.
Let’s support the people who have been paid and elected to negotiate on our and our wildlife’s behalf, and help Pitco to defend an equitable transfer of our public assets for a win-win deal.
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