42-acre Chihuahua parcel along Peru Creek will go into public ownership; 21 acre parcel near River Run gondola goes to private hands
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A Summit County land swap that’s been in the works for almost 10 years was finally completed last week.
White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams signed off on a deal that will convey 21 acres of national forest land near Keystone’s River Run Gondola to private hands, while the Forest Service will take ownership of the 42 acre Chihuahua parcel, along Peru Creek.
The decision is subject to a 45-day appeal period that began Aug.20.
The complex trade previously included several tracts near Breckenridge, but appraisals of the various parcels at first didn’t match up. Forest Service regulations require the value of trade parcels to be within 25 percent of each other. The difference can be made up with cash.
The Dercum Dash parcel at River Run has preliminary zoning approval for 21 homes.
The Chihuahua parcel was platted as a town in the late 1800s. The development rights associated with that status were never completely settled, and county officials previously said they weren’t inclined to go to test the issue in court.
Keystone developer Gary Miller was the main proponent of the trade as the local spokesman of a group of investors who own the Chihuahua parcel. Miller has said he has spent about $2 million pursuing the trade.
The trade stalled as several rounds of appraisals went awry, ultimately leading to a review by top agency officials in Washington, D.C. during the past several months. Somewhere along the way, the values of the parcels finally — and some would say magically — aligned.