BLM seeking public input over Blue Valley Land Exchange at meeting this week in Kremmling
Grand County residents this week will get a chance to hear the full details on a proposed land exchange plan along the Blue River.
The Bureau of Land Management will host the second of two public meetings Wednesday evening, from 4 to 7 p.m., regarding a proposed land exchange, called the Blue Valley Land Exchange, at the Grand County Fairgrounds Extension Office in Kremmling. Federal officials plan to provide information and answer questions from the public about the proposal, which will impact both Grand and Summit counties.
According to representatives of the Bureau of Land Management, the proposed land exchange involves the transfer of nine parcels of federal land in Grand County, totaling 1,489 acres, for nine parcels of non-federal land in both Grand and Summit counties totaling 1,830 acres.
Federal officials said the exchange would result in additional public access to a nearly one-mile section of Blue River frontage near the confluence of the Blue and Colorado Rivers. The public would also gain access to 1.66 miles of river frontage that are currently open to the public but 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 Trough Road,” read a statement from the BLM.
Federal officials said the private proponent of the land exchange proposal, the Blue Valley Ranch, has pledged to fund several public lands improvement near the confluence of the Blue and Colorado Rivers including facilities for float-boaters, a new take-out for rafts and kayaks, wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms, trails and parking areas.
According to federal officials, more than half of the proposed exchange acreage currently managed by the BLM is surrounded by private land with no public access. Federal officials said the majority of BLM managed lands being considered for the Blue Valley Land Exchange are small, isolated parcels that receive little public use.
Local representatives of the federal agency stress the importance of public meetings like the one scheduled for Kremmling.
“Public comment is critical to our evaluation of this proposal because the BLM conducts land exchanges only if we determine them to be in the public’s interest,” said Hunter Seim, acting field manager for the BLM’s Kremmling office.
A draft environmental impact statement regarding the proposal was released by the BLM on May 11 as part of a 45-day public comment period. The public can still submit comments regarding the proposal for several more weeks. Comments must be received by the BLM by June 25. Comment submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 970-724-3066, or mailed to PO Box 68 Kremmling, CO 80459.
Anyone looking to submit comments should remember that their entire comment, including any personal information such as address, phone number, email address and any other personal information, could potentially be made publicly available.
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