Kremmling forum focuses on management of the Lower Blue River | SkyHiNews.com

Kremmling forum focuses on management of the Lower Blue River

Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

Grand County Commissioner Gary Baumgarner and John Kossler of the Blue Valley Ranch discuss issues Wednesday during a forum in Kremmling to gather public input about the Lower Blue River Cooperative Management Plan.

Key stakeholders of the Lower Blue River Cooperative Management Plan held a public forum Wednesday in Kremmling to gather public input about the use of the lower Blue.

The 15-mile corridor, which is home to various wildlife and is gaining use by rafters, kayakers and anglers, is becoming overcrowded, causing concern among private landowners, users and agencies.

The forum was part of a process to implement a plan on the lower Blue that will protect the river’s natural resources while managing the needs and desires of recreational users and private landowners. It includes the lower Blue River corridor, from Green Mountain Reservoir to the confluence with the Colorado River, in Grand and Summit counties.

The plan started in 2005, when a group of stakeholders met to discuss concerns about the protection of the lower Blue River corridor. Since then, many individuals, private landowners and agencies have developed a strategic plan to protect the river. Stakeholders include the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Trout Unlimited and Summit and Grand counties.

John Kossler, natural resources manager for Blue Valley Ranch, attended the forum to show his support for the plan.

“It’s a good opportunity for the community to participate in the process and learn about what it’ll take to do that,” Kossler said at the forum.

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Grand County Commissioner Gary Baumgarner also attended to represent Grand County’s interests in the plan.

“It’s all part of protecting the water on the West Slope,” he said.

Bunny Sterin, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM, said she was encouraged to see private landowners so involved in the process. It shows that private landowners are dedicated to one of the visions stated in the plan, which includes protecting landowners’ rights while allowing for public access and use, she pointed out.

“The private landowners are really putting in the time and resources to write this plan. They’re really jumping up to the plate to work with other agencies,” Sterin said. “It’s a really cool thing.”

The management plan consists of five chapters ” two of which have been completed. Wednesday’s forum was part of the third chapter, which is to collect public comments and incorporate them into the plan’s management actions. There is a 30-day comment period, and the last day to submit comments is March 13. More forums will be held in the near future, but a date has not been determined yet.

For more information, visit http://www.co.summit.co.us. Look for a “Draft Lower Blue River Cooperative Management Plan” link under the “Documents for Review” section in the upper, right corner. To submit comments, use the comment sheet provided, and e-mail them to LBRcomments@co.summit.co.us.

Completed comment sheets can also be mailed to:

Steve Hill

Summit County Interim Manager

PO BOX 68

Breckenridge, CO 80424

” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail smiller@grandcountynews.com.

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