Title: Private Dam Stirs Up Feud in Colorado
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00000984/00001
 Material Information
Title: Private Dam Stirs Up Feud in Colorado
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: U.S. Water News
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: U.S. Water News Article October, 1988
General Note: Box 7, Folder 4 ( Vail Conference 1989 - 1989 ), Item 83
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00000984
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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LPrivateL 7LX &damt. /i

Private dam


stirs up feud

in Colorado
BOULDER, Colo. After the U.S.
Forest Service refused a free gift of
property in the middle of a desig-
nated wilderness, a private devel-
oper bought the tract of land. Now,
water lawyer John Wittemyer is re-
building a 19th century dam in the
extremely popular Indian Peaks
Wilderness in the mountains above
Boulder, in hopes of making a profit
from the property's water rights.
The Southwest office of the Sierra
Club said Wittemyer has already
compromised the integrity of the
wilderness and ruined the efforts of
volunteer trail builders.
The saga began when the State
Engineer declared the old Jasper
Dam unsafe. Instead of repairing the
structure, the owner, Public Service
Co. of Colorado, decided to give the
property to the Forest Service. But
the Forest Service believed the dam
existed by virtue of a special use per-
mit, so it maintained that Public
Service was obligated to return the
property to its natural state. In
refusing the offer, the agency
thought it was saving $20,000.


Wittemyer, whose family has
owned for generations an inholding
a ahort distance from the dam,
stepped in with the knowledge that
he was buying water rights and a
permanent easement dating back to
1891. He paid $50,000 for the dam.
Wittemyer is spending $186,000 to
rebuild the dam, thereby maintain-
ing the right to store 826 acre feet of
water. He most likely will be able to
sell that water for over $1 million. *
Tina Arapkiles with the Sierra
-Club's Boulder office complained
that the old road into the area, which
"was built for horses and wagons,"
now has 12-inch deep ruts and blast
scars.
She fears the road improvements
would allow Wittemyer to build
houses or condominiums in the mid-
dle of the wilderness. The rust For
Public Lands tried to negotiate a
purchase and assessed the value of
the water at around $850,000. Witte-
myer replied that his price was $1.7
million, so negotiations broke down,
Arapkiles reported. The Sierra Club
now plans to challenge him in the
courts.


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