“I’ve never seen an issue that has divided the environmental community so severely, that’s divided allies so severely,” said Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards.

ASPEN AND PITKIN COUNTY REAL ESTATE – Seen from above, the swath of land sandwiched by retail magnate Leslie Wexner’s properties would look something like a question mark on the slopes of Mount Sopris – a fitting shape for a piece of ground whose future is in question.This Bureau of Land Management parcel flanked by Wexner’s Two Shoes Ranch lies at the heart of a controversial land swap.Wexner wants the BLM to exchange it for the Sutey Ranch he owns on the backside of Red Hill, a popular mountain biking spot north of Carbondale.But critics have worried that by letting Wexner consolidate his Mount Sopris holdings, it would put much of the base of Carbondale’s most cherished landmark in the hands of a single billionaire… What’s been fascinating about the land swap debate is the degree to which it has put usual open-space allies in opposite corners and became mired by some of the classic tensions that plague the Roaring Fork Valley.
By David Frey, March 10 – 16, 2010 Snowmass Sun

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