Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CORRECTING THE RECORD: Kink in Broadmoor-city land swap

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 10:14 AM

Strawberry Fields is what all the fuss is about in the city's land swap deal with The Broadmoor. - RICHARD MEINIG
  • Richard Meinig
  • Strawberry Fields is what all the fuss is about in the city's land swap deal with The Broadmoor.


To be clear, here is the paragraph that addresses the federal exchange in which The Broadmoor is involved with the U.S. Forest Service:
S. 1941 facilitates an equal value land exchange. If the
value of the non-Federal parcel exceeds the value of the
Federal parcel and perpetual access easement, Broadmoor Hotel,
Inc., would donate the excess value to the United States. This
land exchange would provide increased recreational
opportunities for the public on the Pike National Forest,
secure perpetual legal access to the Barr Trail, eliminate
permanent encumbrances on USFS lands and liability to the
United States associated with buildings, a water supply system,
and two dams at Emerald Valley Ranch, and streamline USFS
management responsibilities by eliminating the need to oversee
the resort special use permit at Emerald Valley Ranch.
The quote in the original blog didn't use the entire section, and therefore didn't fully explain the proposal.

Broadmoor Chairman Steve Bartolin tell us that The Broadmoor wants to give the Barr Trail easement to the Forest Service. The city proposal would conclude with the city owning that land that contains the easement.

So, as we understand it, the city would own the land upon which the Forest Service would retain an easement.

——-ORIGINAL POST WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10, 2016, 10:14 A.M.———————————

After the Independent went to press yesterday containing a story ("Fields of Dreams") about the city's proposed land swap with The Broadmoor, we discovered a little glitch in the deal in which the resort would swap 371 acres for the city's 189.5-acre Strawberry Fields open space in the Cheyenne Cañon area.

Seems that another tract involved in that deal is also on the table in a bill making its way through Congress that would allow The Broadmoor to swap land in the Pike Forest for the 90-acre Ranch at Emerald Valley. The resort opened a wilderness experience resort at the ranch a few years ago. It was then flooded from breached dams after heavy rainfall in September 2013, and now The Broadmoor wants to trade 320 acres farther to the west for the Emerald Valley land, rather than leasing the property from the Forest Service.

Anyway, the land that's apparently cited in both deals is a parcel on Barr Trail

In the city's Proposed Land Exchange outline compiled by the city, it says, "The City's ownership of this property would place all of the Barr Trail in public ownership."

Here's that proposal:

The Colorado Land Exchange Act of 2015, now pending in Congress, states The Broadmoor would "convey to the USFS [U.S. Forest Service]" a section of Barr Trail that "would provide increased recreational 
opportunities for the public on the Pike National Forest, secure perpetual legal access to the Barr Trail."


Turns out, this portion of Barr Trail contained in both deals is the same land, Pikes Peak Ranger District Ranger Oscar Martinez tells the Indy.

So now, it's unclear who would wind up with the Barr Trail parcel, and Martinez is as baffled as some residents who oppose the city's land swap.

Asked who would own the land, Martinez says, "I don't know the answer to that. That would be a question more for The Broadmoor and the city. Those would be the details that would have to be sorted out."

We asked city Parks Director Karen Palus on Monday and didn't hear back until this morning. She writes via email, " I think it would be most appropriate for [Broadmoor chairman] Steve Bartolin to respond on this item as he has been directly involved. My understanding is that the other proposal only relates to an [sic] potential easement for the Barr Trail."

(We're not completely clear on what that means, which is why we've provided a link to the city proposal, as well as the Exchange Act of 2015 in this blog.)

Yes, of course we did ask The Broadmoor, and got this response this morning from Bartolin in an email:
You are correct, in the Federal Land Exchange with the Forest Service includes an easement for the lower portion of Barr Trail that is on property owned by the railroad [owned by The Broadmoor]. This does not include the incline and does not preclude us from ever selling the property, although the easement for the Barr Trail piece would remain. The positives for the City Exchange are that it gives public ownership in perpetuity for two of the most iconic outdoor recreational venues in the area. Further, with public ownership, it allows additional spurs to connect from Barr Trail to the incline, which is greatly needed. 

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