MC Commissioners finalize land swap

Forest Divide District Ranger Martha Williamson took a moment Tuesday to celebrate the completion of a final decision in the sale of the Mineral County Landfill and surrounding land.


CREEDE- In a meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 22, the Mineral County Commissioners received a final record of decision, signed and delivered by Rio Grande National Forest Divide District Ranger Martha Williamson. The project to acquire the land that the Mineral County Landfill sits on has been in the works for close to seven years and it was a sigh of relief to be at the end of the process for commissioners.
According to the document provided by Williamson it states, “I have decided to implement the proposed action because it meets the purpose and need, achieves the Rio Grande National Forest Revised Land and Resource Management Plan Objective to recognize the nature and extent of local economic dependencies on National Forest activities and resolves all identified resource conflicts.”
The document further explains, “The purpose of this project is to comply with regulation, department and agency policy, and Forest Plan direction to discontinue solid waste disposal on National Forest System lands while meeting Mineral County’s stated need for continued operation and future expansion of their landfill and creation of a public shooting range.”
“The final proposed action, to convey 69.3 acres of National Forest System land to Mineral County for Townsite purposes, meets the purpose and need of the county. The evolution in the proposed action illustrated in the Environmental Assessment, which eliminated 12 acres in order to retain a cultural resource recommended as eligible to the National Register for Historic Places in Federal ownership, resolves all resource conflict.”
The next step for the county and the Forest Service will be to have the land appraised and surveyed to determine market value which will comply with state and federal regulations.
After presenting the signed document to the commissioners, Williamson gave a brief update on other future projects that will be coming up in the next few months beginning with a workshop with the San Luis Valley Tourism Association. “We were invited to participate in the coming workshop that will focus on marketing the San Luis Valley and surrounding wilderness. We were very happy to accept the invitation so that we can stay on top of or rather, in front of overuse of the forest and how we can reach understanding between all parties,” said Williamson.
Additionally, Williamson also explained that work has recommenced with local cellphone company Viaero Wireless. The project to place cell towers along the Highway 149 corridor was put on hold pending an evaluation by the Colorado State Historical Preservation Office. Viaero has decided to move forward with some of the sites and work on placing the cell towers will start back up soon,” finished Williamson.

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