Designer Ralph Lauren's proposal for a land
swap with the U.S. Forest Service has been sent back to the drawing
board after encountering fierce local
The swap called for the Forest
Service to give Lauren 525 acres, including part of a public-access
road that runs through his Double RL ranch near Ridgway, Colo. In
exchange, Lauren promised to give the agency 680 acres of ranch
property that adjoins the Uncompahgre National Forest and to build
a new road to access Box Factory Park, a popular recreation
Both parties thought it was a good deal.
Lauren would gain privacy and relief from poaching, littering and
illegal camping along the road, while the Forest Service would gain
a buffer zone for the Mount Sneffels Wilderness
"We felt (it was) a win-win situation,"
says Tom Harrington, the Double RL's ranch
But the proposal sparked a flurry of
letters to the editor and cries of outrage from some homeowners.
Beth Bailis, whose home would be 100 yards from the new road, fears
that hunters using the road would shoot into her backyard. She also
worries that the road would disrupt wildlife that frequents the
area, bring more vehicles close to the wilderness, and increase the
risk of forest fires started by careless campers.
Now, all plans are on hold while Lauren and his
representatives sift through the public comments and come up with
new alternatives. Says Harrington, "We want to try and make people
as happy as we can."