- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

MINTURN, Colo. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service says a proposed land swap that would allow homes to be built on popular Meadow Mountain isn’t acceptable because land received in return on Battle Mountain would not offer the same recreational opportunities and would be too far from public access.

White River National Forest District Ranger Dave Neely told Battle Mountain Development Co. that the Forest Service does not think the idea, which was presented to the Minturn Town Council, is something the agency would be willing to consider.

One of the first rules of a Forest Service land swap is to recognize a public good that would be gained from the swap, the Vail Daily reported (https://tinyurl.com/olk7o4t).

“This is clearly a serious proposal, and there appear to be some merits to it,” Neely said. “But anyone who has lived in Eagle County for a short amount of time understands that there’s significant social value placed on Meadow Mountain, and as such the proposal was guaranteed to be controversial.”

Neely said the biggest challenge to any Meadow Mountain land swap would be duplicating the recreational values. Meadow Mountain has trailhead parking area on Interstate 70, and it’s among the most accessible areas in Eagle County for trail users. Battle Mountain is 12 miles south, off a rural highway.

Tim McGuire with Battle Mountain Development says the company might still submit an application if it has more success in its appeal to the public.

McGuire said the company would look for a third-party holder like the Eagle Valley Land Trust to make sure public access would be provided to the proposed trails and recreation area on Meadow Mountain if the land swap was approved.

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Information from: Vail Daily, https://www.vaildaily.com/

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