Pentagon’s 7-Million-acre Land Grab Would Displace 17,000 Coloradans

December 2nd, 2008 - by admin

Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition – 2008-12-02 22:48:47

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(December 2, 2008) — Ever since the planned expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site became public knowledge in early 2006, the PCEOC has been warning Colorado that the Army’s goal was to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS) by up to 5.5 million acres. As it turns out, this was incorrect; the actual acreage desired by the US Army is 7 million acres.

An Army planning document from 2004 entitled Analysis of Alternatives Study Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site Colorado details this goal. This amounts to almost every piece of land from I-25 to Kansas, and from just south of the Arkansas Valley to the New Mexico/Oklahoma border.

The Army’s own plan anticipates 17,000 people to be displaced from Southeastern Colorado. Of course, the Army is describing this document as a brainstorming plan that was never adapted. However, it is interesting that the first parcel of land to be acquired in this ‘brainstorming plan’ is labeled as parcel 1A, the same piece of land they are currently trying to acquire.

Parcel 1A has also been specifically referred to at recent public meetings by the Assistant Secretary of the Army (I&E), Keith Easton. Keep in mind that this Army document is not the only proof of their ultimate goal. It is very suspect that it took a lawsuit for them to release this official Army planning document to the public. Until this official release, much of the document had been leaked or released to the public in a redacted form, with key information removed.

In November Issue of the PCEOC Newsletter:

• Army document outlines plans to acquire 7 million acres and displace 17,000 people
• Army targeted 7 million acres in 04′
• The Army’s Big Map – A Pueblo Chieftain Editorial
• Colorado Artists Team Up with Area Ranchers for Denver Art Show
• Purchase a piece of Southeastern Colorado and help support the PCEOC!
• Opinion Letters & Articles in Local Newspapers
• PCEOC Brochures – What’s at Stake and Heritage and Culture
• History Corner
• Current Events and Volunteer Opportunities – What You Can Do to Help

• Please view past PCEOC newsletters at:

Document Outlines Plans to Acquire
7 Million Acres and Displace 17,000 People

The following link will take you to the Army document outlining plans to acquire 7 million acres and displace 17,000 people. It should be noted that 17,000 is the number of people the Army estimates will have to be displaced in the land acquisition itself, primarily through the loss of their own land. This number could rise drastically as these people leave the area, causing a ripple effect in the surrounding communities through local governments, schools, and businesses.

Analysis of Alternatives Study: Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Colorado
7th Infantry Division and Fort Carson
Fort Carson, Colorado
May 6, 2004
Prepared by: Fort Carson ITAM Coordinator, Range Division
For G-3, 7th ID, Fort Carson, Colorado

Army Targeted 7 Million Acres in 04’
In the long battle over the Army’s plan to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, it’s known as “The Big Map” because it shows the 238,000-acre training range northeast of Trinidad swelling by millions of acres until it engulfs the entire southeastern corner of Colorado.
By Peter Roper / The Pueblo Chieftain
October 28, 2008

The Army’s Big Map – A Pueblo Chieftain Editorial
After two years of disclaimers, the Army is stuck with “The Big Map,” printed in a 2004 Fort Carson report, revealing a plan to purchase up to 7 million acres – the entire southeast corner of Colorado – for Pinon Canyon expansion.
Editorial – The Pueblo Chieftain
October 30, 2008

Colorado Artists Team Up with
Area Ranchers for Denver Art Show

Artists from all over Colorado have teamed up with ranchers from Southeastern Colorado to put together a unique exhibition for the benefit of the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition. The exhibition will be hung at the Standing Sun Gallery at 826 Santa Fe Drive in Denver on December 4th and 5th. All of the artwork is being donated by the artists and 100% of the proceeds will go to PCEOC. The auction will open online November 28th at the following web site:

• For more information please go to: and click on the Art Auction button.

Purchase a Piece of Southeastern Colorado
And Help Support the PCEOC!

For $10.00 you can become a Southeastern Colorado landowner and support the PCEOC! An acre of land has been donated and is being sold by the square inch. Purchasers will receive a legal deed to the property. The property is located on the historic Circle Diamond Ranch once occupied by 19th century cattle baron Frank Bloom and is located near Thatcher, Colorado along the historic Santa Fe Trail. The actual acre is across Highway 350 from the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.

Opinion Letters & Articles in Local Newspapers
One of the many lessons that can be learned by living in this wonderful country is the lesson that reasonable people can hold opposing views on controversial issues. The PCEOC understands that there are differing takes on the PCMS issue; however, when someone with the power of the press, seeks to besmirch a community organization, twisting the facts to suit their purpose, it is a sad day indeed.

When an article is written and advertised as an opinion, we can take the article for what it is, an opinion. The article in question, written by a local newspaper reporter, was clearly an editorial. We can only hope that this opinion does not bleed into that reporter’s hard news stories. The power that the press holds is mighty.

News outlets have the power to decide what is news, and what isn’t, what makes the front page, and what doesn’t. Of course reporters, like all of us, are only human, but they bear the grave responsibility of not letting their personal biases and opinions taint hard news stories. Please note the following opinion letters, sent to local papers, which were written in response to this article. Brochure – What’s at Stake?
For a concise summery of some the ecology, history, and cultural impacts of this proposed expansion, please link to this brochure. You are also welcome to print out brochures as a way of sharing information with others.

The proposed expansion would destroy an intact, living landscape intricately woven together by ecology, history and culture. The area’s short-grass prairie ecosystem is inextricably linked with a sustainable human agricultural economy.

The history and archaeology of these canyons and grasslands are not fenced off and set aside, but rather live and function within the existing agricultural-based culture. This is a place where the human component doesn’t exist at the expense of the natural, but instead functions within a dynamic ecosystem. T

he proposed expansion would displace a culture, turn living history into dead static history, and litter a wild fragile landscape with tank tracks and live fire munitions debris.

History Corner
Again and again we are reminded of the parallels in events between the original creation of the PCMS and this recent effort to expand its boarders. The following quotes are from a 1981 University of Southern Colorado (now CSU-Pueblo) publication.

When responding to the opponents of creating what became the PCMS, and responding to the accusation that not only was the Army creating this initial training site, they were planning on acquiring a much larger tract of land in the future for a national training center; perhaps extending to the Southeast corner of the state. Col. Earl Burley stated the following: “We do not now, nor do we have any intention in the future of building a training center in Southern Colorado.”

Tim McDonald, the news reporter, went on to report that “Burley stated that of the money the Army generated, a low of 20 percent and a high of 84 percent would remain in the local area”. Col. Earl Burley, U.S. Army usc today, volume XI, Number 4, Thursday, September 17, 1981. It seems Col. Burley was either ill informed, or less than truthful.

Current Events and Volunteer Opportunities
What You Can Do To Help

The PCEOC can always use volunteers to help fight off this unneeded expansion. Any help would be greatly appreciated, so please contact the PCEOC to offer your services. Among the most important things you can do is to attend public meetings, routinely write or call your elected representatives, and pass PCEOC information on to your email contact list.

These things really make a difference. For a calendar of upcoming events, please go to the following site: