I attended the Paonia meeting on the Bear Ranch Land Exchange. I saw a lot of emotion, misleading and erroneous statements.
First, the BLM access in question is just that, BLM. That means it is federal land and does not belong to the people of Paonia. Several times statements were made that it is a local issue and should be decided locally, not in Congress. The way it is structured, by law, it has to be done that way.
Second, there was a reference made as to why someone who was part of a Constitution group would be for this exchange. From the noises coming from the group it seemed most of the people agreed. I would suggest they don't understand their Constitution. If you study the founders, what they stood for, the principles behind the Constitution and the document itself, you would see individual liberty was of the utmost importance. After that it is about the people of the United States and what is best for them collectively.This land exchange falls into the latter category. Since we are ALL owners of that land, it must be decided what is best for the majority of us. When you consider the facts of this exchange without emotion, I believe you will come to the conclusion that it is a win for the majority of the people of the U.S.
I understand what a treasure we have here in the North Fork Valley. My husband is part of the fourth generation to live here and there are two more generations behind him living here as well. I have been here for over 50 years. We had a chance to live elsewhere, with what may have been considered a more prestigious job and definitely more money, but chose to live and raise our family here because of this "treasure." I also know that we are giving up only approximately three tenths of 1 percent of the public land available to us locally as stated by my husband at the meeting.
Sitting at that meeting made me think of children playing in a boxcar full of toys. There was a little toy in the corner that no one seemed to notice or care about until one little boy wanted it for himself then all of a sudden all the children decided it was the favorite toy. Was the little boy selfish? Perhaps, but I would suggest to you that all the other children were more selfish.
I was very disappointed at the selfishness on display at this meeting. It was all about "me" and what I wanted. Who cares about the rest of the country? I hope our Congress is a little more discerning.
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