A widow who fought the National Park Service to keep her summer home inside the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park died Tuesday, months after President Bush signed a law letting her use the property for the rest of her life, her family said. She was 84.
Betty Dick died in a skilled nursing care center in Scottsdale, Ariz., her daughter Betsy Tietz said. She was recently found to have ovarian cancer.
Rep. Mark Udall, Sen. Ken Salazar, both Democrats from Colorado, and others took up Dick's cause after the park service threatened her with eviction from a summer cabin she and her late husband had spent summers in since the 1970s.
The couple believed under an original agreement that they got the property for life. Betty Dick says the government later changed the terms to 25 years. Fred Dick agreed to the change, believing he would not live that long. He died in 1992, but Betty Dick was still using the cabin when the term ended in July 2005.
After a monthslong fight, Bush in May signed a bill that gave Dick "life estate" rights to use part of the land and the cabin inside the park. Park officials opposed allowing Dick to remain in the cabin, saying tailoring legislation to one person would set a bad precedent for other agreements on national park land.
Tietz said her mother spent the summer at the cabin.
"It was relief and gratitude that she was given that opportunity," Tietz said.
The property will now go back to the park service, Tietz said.