Outside Magazine Covers Land Man Thomas Chapman


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 5, 2011      

As most of you esteemed WildSnow readers know, here in Colorado a former (semi-retired now, let his license lapse) realtor named Thomas Chapman is a gigawatt lightning rod for issues regarding what privileges the public has when it comes to private land. In the case of Chapman, this has come to a head a few times when he’s been involved in land deals that resulted in developing or exchanging what are known as “inholdings,” simply meaning parcels of private land surrounded by public land such as National Forest. We’ve covered this issue in a few heavily trafficked blog posts about Thomas Chapman and Colorado land issues.

Recently, Chapman has caught attention as one of the principles in Gold Hill Development (GHD), the company that bought an inholding near a Colorado ski resort (Telluride). The GHD inholding is frequently crossed by backcountry skiers and hikers. In announcing they did NOT give permission for the public to cross their land, GHD caused a local ruckus.

In my view, one of the problems with the GHD situation in Telluride is that many individuals seem to think that vilifying partner Thomas Chapman for his previous land deals is somehow a way to reach a solution to the current Bear Creek dilemma. We’re not sure how such deep thinkers plan on getting from point A to point H by using the old and tired technique of ad hominem attacks. But today, Outside Magazine published what some might consider a thinly veiled hit piece that’ll help the Chapman haters out there — yet conversely might get a few folks to realize the guy is human. The Outside mag article can be read here.

Overall, I thought Kelley McMillan’s article about Chapman was impressively detailed. But it appears to effort too much at being some kind of expose’ in linking to correspondence taken out of context and that sort of thing. In the end, it seems to make Chapman out to be some kind of evil genius who’s done a large amount of incredibly complex land deals that resulted in the accumulation of huge riches.

In reality, from what I can see Chapman has made a decent living — but he’s not sailing the Med in a 400 foot yacht. Instead, as McMilllan relates in her Outside article, Chapman lives a humble life near where he was born in Western Colorado. More, out of more than 200 property deals he’s been directly involved in during his 38 year real estate career, only four involved government and the public. Chapman told me that would be the Mott Black Canyon transaction in 1984, the McCluskey transaction in about 1986, the West Elk Land Exchange in 1994, and the sale of the Dave Calhoon Crystal Lake lands near Ironton to the Forest Service around 2003.

Credit to Kelley for one bit of amusement in her otherwise rather dry composition. She quotes a San Miguel County (where Bear Creek is located) Commissioner Joan May as saying “I think [Chapman and Curry] expected more public outrage.” Kelley goes on to paraphrase May’s feelings: “With access in question and tough high-country zoning laws, it’s doubtful anything will happen in Bear Creek for years, if ever.”

I have no idea how Commissioner May gauges how much “outrage” GHD expected. Perhaps she’s a mind reader in posession of an outrage gauge, or is counting bumper stickers? On the other hand, in these days of backcountry skiing booming as healthy recreation that could have economic benefits for San Miguel County (where Bear Creek is located), it’s sad that a politician has such a lack of vision for some of the most prime adventure skiing land in the state. I mean, why can’t the gal say something like “I don’t like what Chapman has done with his other land deals, but in this case, let’s make a purse out of a sow ear, and work with GHD to accomplish something that will be of lasting benefit to the public…”

Money talks, BS walks (or runs). The Bear Creek land does appear to have value to the Telluride ski resort as a possible base for resort expansion. GHD’s holdings also have value in that they are now blocking access to public land (ironically, inholdings don’t have such value until they are posted no-trespassing — logical, but a hard concept to grasp for some of us who don’t have experience with land dealings). Beyond all that, GHD’s land has value because they have use by right and can build several practically sized structures there. What is more, as Kelley McMillan relates in her Outside article, land deals that Chapman is involved in have a way of getting done.

Again, McMillan’s article is here. Join the Chapman click party that Outside is putting on today, then head back over here and let us know what you think!



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Comments

35 Responses to “Outside Magazine Covers Land Man Thomas Chapman”

  1. Jon December 5th, 2011 9:08 am

    I wouldn’t exactly call it a “hit” piece, but it isn’t a very favorable look on Mr. Chapman. What Chapman does is legal and occasionally lucrative, it’s just not a terribly pleasant or friendly way of doing business. The laws get murky in these cases, as there are a number of different conflicting precedents to go off.

  2. d. Diggler December 5th, 2011 10:55 am

    ” he(Chapman) told me in an e-mail, “I can ride the chairlift with you at Telluride, and you haven’t the slightest idea who’s sitting next to you.”

    Wow, it really speaks to your character when you have to disguise your identity at the resort.

  3. Lou December 5th, 2011 10:58 am

    D., good point, I’d add that perhaps it also reflects on the character of the people you’re riding the lift with (grin). Lou

  4. Steven December 5th, 2011 11:16 am

    @ d. Diggler: You clearly missed the point of that statement. Moreover, the conclusion you reached is completely illogical.

    Tell me, if I rode the chairlift next to you, would I have “the slightest idea of who’s sitting next to” me? Probably not, eh? So, by your logic: you must be disguising your identity!

  5. Roger December 5th, 2011 11:24 am

    Instead of “We want our wilderness. You build it, we’ll burn it”, this is more along the lines of “You want your wildnerness? Pay me, or I’ll build it.” To his credit, Mr. Chapman may be driven more by ideology than greed, and, granted, past government strong arm tactics agains private property holders in the elimination of inholdings may have contributed to his worldview. Nevertheless, it’s a real point of contention whether he’s exctracting real value or cynically exploiting the public good by holding these parcels for ransom. Regarding the article, I don’t think it’s too much of a hit piece. Not knowing anything about this issue, I came away pretty much being able to see it from more than one perspective. It didn’t make me want to go out and slap a bumper sticker on the back of my Subaru (even if I lived in CO, which I don’t.)

  6. Jim December 5th, 2011 11:41 am

    There is very little a nonresidential private land owner can do to keep out, stop, trespassers on unfenced wild lands. The police won’t do much and can’t be there in time. The land owner cannot physically detain the trespasser. About all that he can do is give him notice or try to get the identification. The trespasser really has no obligation to cooperate. Court action is basically futile. In theory landowner is entitled to physically remove trespasser, but as a practical matter it invites lawsuits as violence typically ensues. The owner cannot patrol wild private holdings as a practical matter either. Backcountry ethics encourages respect for private land. Its a tenuous balance, and public policy and planning need to address the issues.

  7. sven December 5th, 2011 12:11 pm

    Hey Lou – Just FYI that Joan May is a female San Miguel County Commissioner and a longtime local. I don’t know who “John May” is. Might be worthwhile to correct your piece.

  8. Lou December 5th, 2011 12:44 pm

    Yeah, sorry about that Joan!

  9. Lou December 5th, 2011 1:04 pm

    I’m enjoying your takes and opinions folks, keep ’em rolling.

    Very true about trespassing on inholdings, but not quite so absolute. Some things can be fenced, and methods do exist for property owners to enforce no-trespass
    laws.

    One interesting thing is that there are laws on the books that protect inholders to some degree from risk, but don’t help with their land values. For example, precedence is that if an inholder doesn’t post their land, they can “allow” people to cross their land or recreate on it without incurring any sort of risk for “historical easement” type of claims (as folks in Telluride have probably learned). That’s not saying the government can’t still take their land by eminent domain, but it at least eliminates the concern of “they use it, you lose it.” More, Colorado has a statuette on the books that to some degree or another limits the amount you can get sued for if someone gets hurt on an unposted, unimproved inholding. But that law is not very strong and doesn’t prevent a claim of negligence from still being rewarded big (you can get taken to court for anything, and end up paying tons of money to a lawyer no matter what the outcome.)

    The main thing people need to realize is that an inholding is used for recreation but has limited development rights, the only way to make the land worth something is to close it, then trade access for something (land exchange, money, easement, development rights, whatever.) Calling basic capitalist business that uses that principle “ransom” is really like saying it’s “ransom” to bottle water and sell it. It’s not the land owner’s fault their development rights have been limited, or historical access roads have been closed. Really, if anyone wants to point fingers, it’s the fault of the government creating (as Kelley writes), a classic “land assembly problem” and thus creating value that in a capitalist economy WILL eventually be realized, if not by Thomas Chapman, then by someone else.

    Thus, what I don’t get is why make Chapman the bad guy, when he’s just doing land deals based on value created by things he had absolutely nothing to do with? In other words, is every person out there with land that could be used by the public supposed to keep it open for public use? Why single out GHD? Seriously, I just don’t get it, other than perhaps this take comes from a very self centered view about one certain piece of land in Bear Basin.

    As most of you know, I’m an access advocate. Some of you know that our family owns our own inholding near Marble, Colorado. We’ve posted part of our inholding due to our desire for privacy where we have our camp trailer. Other parts we’ve chosen not to post. Thus, I’m coming at this issue from a LOT of angles. Mainly, I advocate for access but not hate, not breaking laws as a matter of course, and doing things in a way that are mutually beneficial for both the public and private concerns.

  10. Kirk December 5th, 2011 1:57 pm

    This is a First World problem if I have ever seen one. Reminds me of that Richard Pryor routine where he imitates a white guy who is upset about overcrowding because now he will have nowhere to ride his horsey. Let the guy enjoy his self-created drama for awhile and extract a few $$$ from the government in peace so we can get back to critical matters like arguing about breatheable fabrics and weighing toepieces!

    Also, what happened to Outside? I haven’t bothered with it in 15 years but I remember when they hired actual journalists, not just hacks who write about “eyes set close to beakish” noses. Dreadful writing.

  11. Lou December 5th, 2011 2:42 pm

    Kirk, yep! Though I’m not sure it’s a self created drama. Like I said, he didn’t create the situation, he only figured out a way to make money from it. Not the first person in the world to be in that position!

  12. Dongshow December 5th, 2011 4:41 pm

    “Calling basic capitalist business that uses that principle “ransom” is really like saying it’s “ransom” to bottle water and sell it.”

    Someone bottling water is creating something of value, water in a bottle.

    You have the choice to buy said bottle of water, and you have the choice not to. But water also comes from multiple sources, and is delivered through a multitude of mediums.

    Chapman creates no such value. The only “value” Chapman creates is through limiting access to a public resource, i.e, the lands above his property. As the article points out, the properties were normally acquired for far less before he involves the public by creating drama. To idea that extracting rents from the government by limiting access to public lands is a wonderful model of capitalism is insane. The very government policies he laments are what hes profiting off of.

    Also, Chapman is free to buy and sell properties as he pleases, much like the forest service is free to condemn the property and settle the whole deal in court, but the idea that the public should have respect for a business man who has an unpleasant way of doing business is also quite strange.

    I would also question your underlying assumption that the primary role of the government when it comes to land policy is to preserve and create value for incumbent landowners, but that’s not an issue for a back country skiing blog.

  13. Dongshow December 5th, 2011 4:52 pm

    I forgot to add that this Chapman issue is great evidence of why his generation’s mistake of placing value on money making, rather than actual work are why they are such historically massive failures.

    If he was making his money improving his communities or providing something of value I think he’d find himself receiving a lot more respect.

  14. Dongshow December 5th, 2011 4:55 pm

    Sorry for the third post, but I forgot to mention that the their is very little distance between these land deals and the practice patent trolls.

  15. Lou December 5th, 2011 5:01 pm

    Dong, I don’t understand what you mean by “practice patent trolls.”

  16. Dongshow December 5th, 2011 5:05 pm

    sorry, i wrote that all fast and didn’t read it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll Chapman’s of the IT world.

  17. OMR December 5th, 2011 7:21 pm

    Who came first the developet or the bc skier? And who’s the parasite? BC skiers tend to herd at resort towns yet believe they are pusuing the higher art. The point is, why are talking about resort skiers? Just can’t feel too sorry for side country folks who are part of the problem. Move away from Wally-world; ski where no one else cares to tread.

  18. Mark W December 5th, 2011 10:03 pm

    Dongshow, you are indicting Chapman’s entire generation as being filled with “historically massive failures” and “placing value only on making money, rather than on actual work.” Painting with such a broad brush–and only one example to make your point–doesn’t inspire much confidence in your case. And I might add that portraying those who work with some sense of making money necessarily don’t work is ridiculous. There are countless examples of people who work very hard to make their money. It doesn’t just magically fall into their laps. I will agree that there are some who have money who didn’t work to earn it, but I would argue that making money generally requires real effort.

  19. Lou December 6th, 2011 5:53 am

    What occurs to me about Dongshow’s type of take, is he’d rather the government kept their money and spent it on wars, then on guys such as Chapman who are simply calling them on their act by doing what are in some cases inevitable deals with inholdings the government created in the first place. More, Dongshow doesn’t seem to realize that once that money is in a person such as Chapman’s hands, it’s spent on things like medical care, college educations or projects in western rural Colorado, thus redistributing wealth in a very effective manner. I mean, Dongshow, don’t we have a moral obligation to keep as much money from the government as possible, and take from the government as much money as legally as possible, since the vast majority of such money when in the hands of the dysfunctional Federal is used to either pay for wars or debt interest? Dongshow, please explain.

  20. Mark December 6th, 2011 6:50 am

    Lou,
    Land management agencies have limited resources with which to purchase inholdings. There is no true relationship to the federal money being spent on wars and other things you (and I, but not everyone) disagree with. If an agency needs to make an inholding purchase and gets gouged, it simply has less money to spend solving other inholding problems (and of course, not every inholding is a problem). Trust me, DOD and defense contractors feel no pain.

    I think DS point is valid. It appears plain that everything Chapman is doing is legal. He is able to drive the price and is doing so in part through publicity maneuvers. But he is definitely not creating economic value. He is creating artificial scarcity (for public access) and deadweight loss. So be it. No law requires him to place the public’s interest above his own.

    Who’s at fault? I say history. The federal government disposed of lands for a century to private entities, and we ended up with patchwork in mountain areas where most land was not economically valuable, but here and there minerals justified a claim. Western public lands are really the places farmers, miners, and ranchers saw as useless. What we have today is a very minor unintended consequence of an enormous subsidy designed to make the risky proposition of western expansion appealing. And the subsidy did work for its intended purpose.

  21. brian h December 6th, 2011 7:49 am

    “purse out of a sow ear”. That’s a good one. I guess this winter will be the test piece. I wonder if the remnants of the San Miguel dirt-bag skier scene is planning an “Occupy Bear Creek” protest. Is GHDC part of the 1%?

  22. Lou December 6th, 2011 8:14 am

    Mark, I wasn’t talking just about land exchanges, in fact, my point has more to do with the tax credits one can get for conservation easements. That ends up being income taken out of the Fed’s pocket.

    I’d add that I’m no expert on how these land deals work, and don’t feel much wiser even after reading the Outside article. It takes years of experience to know all the ins and outs of how exchanges, conservation easements, inholdings, uses by right, access by right, and more all work together. Indeed, that’s why I question how the Outside article brings in a few small glimpses of personal correspondence and expects that to give us some kind of deep insight into the motivations and mechanisms behind what’s going on in Colorado with inholdings and Chapman.

    I would caution anyone to really watch out for false impressions from that stuff. It’s easy to use it to feed your own fears or biases. My approach is to keep looking for end results and give some of this quite a bit more time before drawing extreme conclusions. After all, it’s not like all the legal Wilderness in Colorado is suddenly going away, or that all our backcountry skiing access is suddenly being cut off. Indeed, the whole thing is somewhat sensationalized and blown out of proportion — something Chapman saw and took advantage of a few times. Big deal. Is that his fault or the fault of hysterical land use folks?

    In a way, the theory that folks are “ignoring” Chapman, though wishful thinking (theory disproved by the fact that both Outside and Denver Post publish extensive articles), is still a telling trend and shows what a tempest in a teapot much of this really is — even the Bear Creek stuff. I mean, what’s that have to do with the price of tea in China, or Iran, for example?

  23. Andrew December 6th, 2011 10:08 am

    Hi Lou – Having read WS for a few years, I’m wondering if there are any conservation or wilderness issues and/or organizations that you do support?

    Sierra Club? Winter Wildlands? SUWA? Nature Conservancy? POW? Something CO specific?

  24. dongshow December 6th, 2011 11:00 am

    Lou, I’m with Mark.

    I have no desire to see that money spent on wars, etc, thats a majorly disingenuous reading of my point. The list of underfunded social and education programs in our country is a depressing, yet we seem to be spending more time debating the well being of the already well off.

    Also, “Chapman saw and took advantage of a few times. Big deal. Is that his fault or the fault of hysterical land use folks?” Great to see your totally fine with people undermining our civic institutions for profit. Yes people are over reacting, and what Chapman is doing is technically legal. But to sit here and cheer on someone disingenuously gaming public institutions is awful. Yes the we need title reform, and yes there are issues around inholdings, but fixing these issues requires hard engaged work, not simply looking for loopholes from which to reap a profit.

    Chapman’s actions may be legal, but gaming the public for profit is something we should push back on. Decent societies are built off mutual respect

  25. dongshow December 6th, 2011 11:11 am

    Also, I take it you completely reject any and all backcountry etiquette? Is there no basis for some respect or friendly treatment amongst skiers that cross paths?

    And if Im wrong and you’d do believe fellow skiers should treat each other with respect then at what distance from the trailhead does it become proper etiquette to rip them off?

  26. Frank K December 6th, 2011 12:52 pm

    Well said dongshow. Sure Chapman’s activities are legal, but as a business school grad, I’d like to think that many of his actions would be roundly criticized in any business ethics class. The bumper stickers might not accomplish anything, but they sure are right.

  27. Lou December 6th, 2011 1:50 pm

    As you guys I think know, some of what I’m doing here is playing the contrarian and questioning dogma, BUT, while I don’t intend to be perceived as “cheering” anyone on, I also feel there are two or three sides to the Chapman story, and that some of the stuff is a blame game and/or blown out of proportion. That point of view is where much of my own commenting and blogging comes from.

    I’m not trying to be a PR agency for GHD, only attempting to keep some constructive discussion happening instead of “ignoring,” as some for are recommending we do, or again, getting all hyper ventilated about land deals, some of which happened years ago.

    Also, two wrongs don’t make a right. I see that principle being ignored in things like folks tearing down no trespassing signs, and I have to question how appropriate, effective or “right” it is to do so if if a land owner is not liked.

    To perhaps redeem myself from total rejection by my peers, let me offer that I am appalled at how much public access is cut off by private land in Colorado, and am equally concerned about the need for public crossing GHD’s land in Bear Basin to allow access to public land. As you know from previous emails, I’m in touch with GHD (instead of “ignoring” them, as some apparently enlightened business gurus recommend), and always in conversation encourage them to work something out that will restore legal public access. Indeed, I spoke with them today and they do have many ideas that are win/win, but seriously, accomplishing those ideas involves more than them just acquiescing. In other words, we need to accept that these guys are not going away, might actually have some cool things brewing in their minds, and thus, lets GET ON THE CASE and get something worked out!

    Thus, some of where I’m coming from is to encourage folks to simply deal with the here-and-now when it comes to GHD, rather than obsess on a few of one of the partner’s property deals that while perhaps involving ethical issues, were legal and far from actual fraud.

    In other words, to some extent all this Chapman mania (yeah right, let’s ignore him?) is a gigantic red herring that is blocking resolution of the Bear Creek situation.

    In other words, okay okay, we know Chapman did some deals that folks feel were unethical. But GHD deciding to post their private property is not unethical, nor wrong. We don’t have to like it. But property is posted all over the west, millions of acres. Some of that property blocks public access. Such posting is in constant flux. Some is newly posted. Some is posted for a while, changes owners, and is unposted. Some is never posted either by the good will of the owner, or pure disintrest. Along with that, the Trust for Public Lands and other organizations are constantly buying tracts and placing them back into public ownership. I mean, really, can we get a reality check here?

    As for what organizations we support, that varies a lot from year to year and budget to budget. So other than admitting we support Western Washington University, I’d prefer to keep our budget private. I’m not a presidential candidate, just a blogger….

    And Dong, no need for hyperbole, of course I’m very concerned about backcountry etiquette and try my best to be nice while I’m out on the trail — or here in the comments for that matter. I value your take.

  28. Mark December 7th, 2011 8:51 am

    “The preservationists who created the wilderness inholding in the first place did not have in mind that the entrapped landowner would have more than one option,” Chapman said. Follow his lead, he suggests, and you can make money while getting the government off your back. “The big and as yet untold story,” Chapman wrote in a mass e-mail response to the Journal profile, “is the regulatory taking of private lands all across America, with no compensation or values being diminished by a monkey-wrenched federal appraisal system.”

    That is entirely backwards and ahisotrical by my reckoning. The inholdings were created within and from public lands; public lands did not appear around inholdings, notwithstanding the fact that the purpose and management of public lands evolved alongside our national conservation ethic. And the allegation that public management of public lands around inholdings constitutes a taking (I’m assuming that’s what he means) is not supported by the courts. And the appraisal system, while complicated and slow, appears to me to be very generous to landowners most of the time, who often start with low value, remote properties that are made valuable solely by the recreation draw of the surrounding public lands.

  29. Leo McCormick December 7th, 2011 2:29 pm

    When The Mining Laws of 1872 were passed there were NO, NONE, ZERO, ZIP Federal agencies, bureaucracies and most people, including the few who worked for the Federal Government, were honest and decent. An example of those who were not can be seen in old photographs of public hangings in Durango for “borrowing” someone’s horse “without permission.”
    Fast forward 150 years. With regard to Wilderness Private Land, the Federal Government essentially tries to legally steal citizens’ land through laws, rules, regulations and guile, curtailing citizens’ rights and recourse. These government agents do this through intimidating, bullying, bankrupting and influencing the press to pressure citizens (as, for example, always portraying someone like Tom Chapman in various postures as a “Buzzard of the Backcountry”), government protected low ball appraisals, and they get the land for and with a very sad song.
    Years ago Tom Chapman saw through all that. He saw how he could fight for the protection of private property rights and the personal liberties of spirit and enjoyment of that property and all that it entails in the way of adding to a man’s integrity of doing what he believes in. Because of his intelligence, his vision and his integrity he also profited in money as well as adding to his own spirit, integrity and character and that of his community in going against what has become a Big Government Bully in many areas of our lives, not just with private property in the wilderness.
    Along the way he has helped some other citizens with private wilderness land to the same thing. Yes, he has made a lot of money. Most of the news coverage of Tom over the years, the newspapers, magazines, like Outside, have made money as well, taking “cheap shots” at a man who in his own humble way is a hero in his community and to those he has helped in battles, negotiations over the years with their individual private property and personal liberty, doing what he could to help them preserve it and fight for it. Yes, he has made a lot of money in doing so. He deserves every bit of it.
    I have only had the pleasure of meeting Tom just once to date but I can tell you that he is a humble, self effacing, decent and a man of true American Pioneer Spirit, intelligent, fair and a man of vision. All that is written and said of him as an “Eco Extortionist” and similar terms, “buzzard,” are simply not true, accurate or fair characterizations. To compare him to an “American Eagle” would be far more just……………………….www.SilvertonGold.org……………………

  30. Mark December 7th, 2011 7:11 pm

    Leo,
    Personally, I think your version of history and the role of public land management agencies is nonsense. For one thing, the General Land Office dates to 1812 and the Department of Interior dates to 1849. The rest of your post is squarely in the realm of personal opinion, so I’ll let other readers judge for themselves.

  31. Leo McCormick December 7th, 2011 7:28 pm

    To Mark:

    These “inholdings” were originally patented mining claims which were very expensive to obtain because the person making application for patent had to show very substantial mineral deposites, gold and silver being the most precious minerals/metals at the time. Furthermore, the location of these patented claims, or “inholdings” required a “mineral survey” which was and is much more expensive and difficult to achieve accuracy than a regular survey. Many of these claims/inholdings were created BEFORE the Federal government created areas of Federal lands such as U.S. Forest and BLM lands. For example, the U.S. Forest Service was established on Feb. 1, 1905 and the Significant laws relating to mineral patents referred to above were enacted in 1872. It was enacted on May 10, 1872 and was called “The General Mining Act of 1872.” Most pertinent to this discussion was the description of what was necessary to “create” a 10 acre parcel of land which was rich in precious metas and which underwent the process described above for a “patented mining claim” (herein also referred to as an “inholding’ when surrounded by Federal Land ONCE THAT LAND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ESTABLISHED).

    There was, and STILL IS, provision in that Mining Act of 1872 and subsequently for the process of “creating” privately deeded land in the form of a “mineral patent,” which after 1929 was changed to 20 acres.

    In short, many of these claims, in some areas, most of these patented claims or inholdings were created BEFORE Federally designated and “protected” areas of land…..In what you quoted Tom as saying or in what he might have been saying in a different context is, I hope herein clarified…..www.SilvertonGold.org…..

  32. Leo McCormick December 7th, 2011 7:34 pm

    Mark:

    That’s fine. This is an opportunity for Wildsnow readers to do some research on their own and see what they find. Regards, Leo

  33. Lou December 7th, 2011 7:55 pm

    Speaking of mineral surveys, I recently contacted the best outfit in Colorado for mineral survey. Instead of charging me $300/hour for just the first consult, they were very gracious to me the noob and explained that they could survey and appraise till the cows came home, but if getting a mining permit was unlikely for a given property, they would appraise the mineral value at a big fat ZERO no matter what gold or silver or whatever lay between the surface and the center of the planet. And if there wasn’t an available natural gas distribution system, ditto for gas. Thus, the property we were inquiring about had ZERO mineral value and didn’t even need a survey to figure that out because it’s in an area where getting a permit to operate a gold or silver mine was about as likely as aliens landing and serving sushi, and where there is no gas or oil field. Thus, our only value was as developed real estate (and even that is subject to devaluation due to permits, restrictions, and so forth.) I found this very interesting, to say the least. It explains a lot about what’s going on in the Colorado high country in terms of how these inholdings are utilized.

    Are any of you getting the hint that I got educated over the past few years (grin)?

  34. Leo McCormick December 8th, 2011 4:26 pm

    Clarifications; ONE: My adjectives such as “bankrupting, bullying” etc. were used in a general way to describe how the U.S. Government treats private land holders in the wilderness in situations and cases like Standard Metals and ASARCO as well as private individuals I have heard of. As far as I know, the government has not treated Tom Chapman or his clients in this way. I tried to cover too much in one post and it was confusing or misleading. TWO: I am speaking of SIGNIFICANT present day government land overseer entities which conflict with privagte property owners in wilderness areas, like the BLM and USFS. Yes, The General Land Office was created in Washington D.C. in 1812 and burned to the ground 2 years later along with the White House, The U.S. Congress, and most of the other significant government buildings in town, including the Library of Congress. I doubt they were having much effect on land around Silverton, Colorado, for example. It was not until 1882 that a person could even GET TO Silverton without walking or riding a hourse or a mule. So from 1812 to 1882 I doubt if the U.S. Government had much effect on the land around there. The U.S. Government wanted to give incentive to people to settle and develop the Western U. S. so between 1862 and 1934 the government GAVE AWAY 2,700,000 acres of land west of the Mississippi on authority of The Homestead Act of 1862. Now they want to take as much of the private citizens’ land back as the possibly can, anywhere they can………………….Oh, and yes, you can still apply for a mineral patent but Congress in 1994 cut the funding for the BLM in that part of their budget that reviews mineral patents………….Typical ……….Regards

  35. redfj40 January 22nd, 2012 9:30 pm

    Lou, you are absolutely correct. My family also owns patented mining claims in Bear Creek. The ski area initially contact us wanting to know if we wanted to sell, but were told no we did not want to sell. They wound up giving guided tours across our land none the less…until Tom Chapman got involved with similar problems. Oddly the Telluride Mountain Club never contacted us, no county commissioners have contacted us, although a real estate agent did wanting to know if we would sell. Yet, everyone is claiming public access to lands that they refer to as “Our Public Lands”. I can tell you that for four generations, now with a fifth one having been born, this land has never been public lands for these people and are part of my family’s heritage. Why is it so wrong that we ask that people stay off of our ancestral property?

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