Urban Fold

A Developer in the Park

Sitting in a controversial niche in the development market, Thomas Chapman develops plans for parcels within national parks, only to take buyouts from environmental groups or the government. He's got a bold new proposal on the way.

He develops plans for parcels that are privately owned but within the borders of national parks and national forests. He argues that these proposed projects make parks managers and environmentalists put money behind their convictions that these areas deserve to be protected.

"Now, as the Obama Administration launches a "Great Outdoors Initiative" aimed at expanding protection of America's scenic spots, Mr. Chapman has made his boldest move yet.

He and his business partners bought a 112-acre parcel within the boundaries of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in rugged western Colorado. They spent $240,000 for land the federal government had recently appraised at $175,000. When no conservationists stepped forward to buy the land, Mr. Chapman raised the ante: He built a 4,800-square-foot home on the canyon rim, which he has put on the market for $13 million, helicopter included. And he sold off a second home site-on higher ground, with even more spectacular views-for $2.1 million."

Full Story: 'The Buzzard of Backcountry' Strikes It Rich in National Parks

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