BLM proposal would have big effects to camping system, fees on Colorado River | SkyHiNews.com

BLM proposal would have big effects to camping system, fees on Colorado River

Fishermen try their luck in the Colorado River west of Parshall.
Sky-Hi file photo | Sky-Hi News

What you can do

The proposed changes to the area’s management plan can be found online by going to http://bit.ly/2w1hxxy. Once on the page click on the document titled “Final DRAFT DOI-BLM-N02-2017-0028-EA” to view the most recent and detailed proposal from the BLM.

Citizens can comment on the proposed changes by selecting the “Comment on Document” button on the website listed above. Comments can also be emailed to the BLM’s Kremmlign Field Office. Those emails can be sent to blm_co_kr_webmail@blm.gov. Comments can also be mailed to Bureau of Land Management, Attn. Shane Dittlinger, P.O. Box 68, Kremmlign, CO 80459. Any identifying information you include in your comments, including address, phone number, e-mail address and any other personal identifying information, as well as comments submitted to the BLM, may be made publically available at any time.

Rafters, kayakers, anglers and anyone else looking to recreate on the Colorado River in western Grand County could see some significant changes to how the land is managed by federal authorities if a proposed management plan update is approved.

The Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, is currently considering a new management plan for the section of the Colorado River it manages between Parshall and State Bridge, which lies downstream from Kremmling over the county line into Eagle County. If adopted, the new management plan would result in several structural changes to the way citizens recreate on the river.

“Under the proposed plan, camping would be limited to designated sites along the river,” said officials from the BLM. “These sites would be available for reservation and a camping fee would apply.”

The proposed changes to the management plan for the area, officially called the Upper Colorado River Special Recreation Management Area, includes additional proposed changes to the area’s fee system.

The current parking fee to access the river would be replaced with an individual day-use permit for all river users, from April 1 to Oct. 31, according to the BLM. Permits would help the BLM better track river usage and would help ensure that river users are aware of specific river guidelines, said BLM officials. The number of day-use permits would be unlimited.

Decisions have yet to be made as the BLM has three potential actions it could take, including taking no action, leaving the area to be managed under the current paradigm. The BLM could also choose from one of two different proposed management alternatives, each considering a range of potential changes related to use permits and camping in the area.

The BLM expects to make a final decision on the proposed management plan changes this summer; any adopted changes would be implemented in 2021.

According to information provided by the BLM, the Upper Colorado River Special Recreation Management Area, stretching from Parshall to State Bridge, sees an average of 95,000 annual users with a roughly even split between the number of private users and commercial users, a figure that includes citizens who recreate in the area through guided services. Officials from the BLM said they collected $220,000 in commercial and recreation fees in the area in 2018.

While the land surrounding the river in eastern Grand County is a mix of private and federal lands, managed by the National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Forest Service, most of the Colorado River in western Grand County is adjacent to BLM land.


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