Woman Fights Eviction from Rocky Mountain NP
Private inholdings in parks have been something the National Park Service has grappled with for decades. The agency's latest fight over a patch of parkland surrounds an Arizona woman's desire to hold onto land her late husband owned in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Betty Dick's fight with the agency stems from a deal her late husband, Fred Dick, made with the Park Service in 1980 over 66 acres of land he bought in the 1960s. At the time, the land was outside the park boundaries. But when the park was enlarged in the late 1970s, it swallowed up his land and so the agency approached Dick about buying him out.
Under an agreement he reached with the Park Service, Dick sold two-thirds of the land to the agency, with the understanding that he and Betty could live on the remaining acreage for the rest of their lives. Well, when the papers to seal the deal arrived in 1980, they stated that the Dicks could live on the land for only 25 years. The couple was too weary from the past legal battles to contest this wording, and figured they wouldn't live another quarter-century anyway. So they signed.
While Fred Dick died in 1992, his 83-year-old widow is still going strong and refuses to give up the land, which she lives on during the summer months. Her battle has taken Betty all the way to Congress, where she convinced the House of Representatives to pass a bill allowing her to live on the land for the rest of her life. Now she just has to convince the Senate to go along.
In the meantime, the Park Service has offered to let Betty stay on three acres of land that surround her house. But she's refusing to budge.