BLM considers large land exchange in Grand County
The Colorado Rockies are a unique environment where the rugged individualism embodied by many who call the high country home is immediately juxtaposed against a backdrop of communal ownership of land in the form of national forests, national parks and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rangeland.
Soon citizens of Grand County will have a chance to directly influence management of publicly owned lands as the BLM considers a large land exchange focused primarily around the confluence of the Blue and Colorado Rivers and near Green Mountain Reservoir. The exchange is still in early phases of consideration and the BLM is seeking comment from the public. The agency will hold two public open houses to provide forums for input on the idea.
“We will only complete this exchange if we determine it is in the public’s interest. Land exchanges involve trade-offs, so we want to hear what the public thinks about this proposal,” stated Stephanie Odell, Kremmling Field Manager for the BLM. “We are considering this exchange because of the potential to increase public access and important big-game winter range on public lands.”
The exchange proposal, called the Blue Valley Land Exchange, would see 1,489-acres of land in Grand County, a total of nine parcels, exchanged for 1,832 acres of mostly privately owned lands in Grand and Summit counties, much of which is owned by the Blue Valley Ranch, the proponent of the exchange.
According to a press release issued by the BLM announcing the public open house meetings, “the land exchange would be completed based on an appraised value-for-value basis, rather than acre-for-acre.” The release also states, “the exchange would result in the BLM and public gaining access to nearly a mile of Blue River frontage near the confluence with the Colorado River, plus an additional 1.66 miles of river frontage that is currently inaccessible except by floating. In return, the BLM would relinquish title to 400 acres of land that provides 0.3 miles of walk-in Blue River fishing access near the Trough Road.”
According to the BLM’s press release over half the acreage currently administered by the BLM that is being considered for the exchange is surrounded by private land with no public access. “The majority of other BLM lands considered for exchange are small, isolated parcels that receive little public use,” the release states.
The BLM release also states that if the exchange does go through Blue Valley Ranch has agreed to fund several projects for improvement of public lands including facilities for float boaters, wheelchair accessible fishing platforms, trails and parking areas.
The two open house for public comment will be held later in May. An open house in Silverthorne in the Summit County Library North Branch will be held on May 23 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. An open house in Kremmling will be held on May 24 at the Grand County Extension office located at the Fairgrounds, also from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The public is requested to make comment and can stop by the open houses any time during the listed hours to make their written comment. Officials from the BLM will be on hand during the open houses to answer questions and provide more information. More information on the proposal can be found at ww.blm.gov/co/kfo
Comments can also be submitted via email, to email@example.com, faxed to 970-724-3066 or mailed to 2103 E. Park Avenue, P.O. Box 68, Kremmling, CO 80459.
Please be aware that any comments made to the BLM on the issue, including any personal identifying information you may include, may be made publically available at any time. The release from the BLM states, “while you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal information form public view, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.”
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After their soccer game Saturday, the Grand County Wildcats suited up for a very different type of game.