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Know the West

The Chapman saga continues

  The U.S. Forest Service, with approval from Secretary of Agriculture Jim Lyons, has signed a deed of trust with Colorado developer Tom Chapman. The deal gives Chapman 105 acres of federal land near the Telluride Ski Area in return for Chapman's 240 acre inholding in the West Elk Wilderness near Paonia. Chapman must also remove all traces of the $1 million log cabin he had partially constructed in the wilderness. Although fraud and conspiracy allegations were made against Chapman (HCN, 5/2/94), Gunnison Forest Supervisor Bob Storch says, "We worked very closely with the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney's office and we are unaware of any finding of criminal activity." The case will likely go to court anyway. Both San Miguel County and Chapman's new neighbor in Telluride, Dave Farny, owner of Skyline Guest Ranch, say they will ask for an injunction in federal District Court to stop Chapman from developing the Telluride property. Attorney Stephanie Fanos says her clients will challenge the Forest Service on several points: faulty appraisals, violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, and incorrect handling of the appeal process.