I have read with interest the letters to the editor addressing the Bear Ranch land exchange. For quite some time I had no opinion either way.
Each side has brought out points for consideration and been persuasive. As I've considered the issue, I have noticed a recurring theme from the opposition. In their mind, we lose... our access and our land. Those in favor of the swap have made a convincing argument for all that we gain. The defining thing for me has come down to the definition of WE.
The opposition has defined WE as residents and visitors of the Upper North Fork Valley. The supporters define WE as users of the Ragged Wilderness, visitors of the proposed Currecanti Visitors Center and the public and scientific community worldwide who would benefit from increased access to the paleontological digs adjacent to Dinosaur National Monument. The Park Service has desired this land for some time. The Upper North Fork may not be receiving all the benefit of this exchange, but to say that the public is the loser would be very short sighted. The residents of the North Fork are not the only ones to be considered and to base an opinion solely on what's best for me would be selfish indeed. The conclusion I have come to is that with the exchange a small handful of people will lose a favored access, but overall we win, if you define WE as the residents and visitors of the state of Colorado, and the public at large.
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