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for people who care about the West

Campbell sides with Telluride

  Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (D, Colo.) says he will introduce legislation to condemn a developer's dream house built in Colorado's West Elk Wilderness - if the Forest Service rejects a proposed land exchange with the developer. A Campbell spokeswoman said the senator wants to give the Forest Service another tool to deal with Tom Chapman, who built a $1 million log cabin in the heart of the West Elk Wilderness last year. In return for the West Elk inholding, regional forester Elizabeth Estill reluctantly agreed to trade Chapman 105 acres near the Telluride ski area (HCN, 10/18/93). However, the town of Telluride, the San Miguel County Commissioners, the Board of Realtors, a local environmental group and numerous others appealed that decision, arguing that Chapman had blackmailed the agency into giving away prime real estate worth millions of dollars. In a Feb. 4 letter to Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas, Campbell endorsed the appeal, and offered to lead the condemnation effort should the exchange be disapproved. Campbell said it was "important to show those who would follow Chapman's example that there are those who are outraged at his actions."