Blue Valley land exchange with BLM moves forward
The Bureau of Land Management has approved a land exchange of 1,489 acres in Grand for 1,830 acres in Grand and Summit counties.
The decision authorizes the BLM to exchange nine parcels of federal land in Grand County for nine parcels of private land owned by Blue Valley Ranch in Grand and Summit. The Final Environmental Impact Statement on the exchange will be available beginning Friday through Aug. 2 at go.usa.gov/xnBJ5.
“This land exchange will help consolidate public land in the area while still ensuring recreational access on the Blue River,” BLM Colorado Director Jamie Connell said in a release. “This will be good news for the public who enjoy their public land in this area.”
The exchange expands public access along a mile of the Blue River near the confluence with the Colorado River, plus an additional 1.66 miles of hike-in access to river frontage that is currently inaccessible except by floating. As part of the exchange, the US Forest Service will receive 300 acres that are within the boundaries of the White River National Forest.
Additionally, Blue Valley Ranch has committed to fund a number of improvements on public and private lands, including fishery habitat improvements and developed recreation facilities on the Blue River near its confluence with the Colorado River. Facilities consist of new boat ramps for rafts and kayaks, wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms, trails, restrooms and parking areas.
According to BLM officials, this exchange consolidates public land and transfers small, isolated public land parcels that mostly have little to no public access.
Kremmling Field Manger Bill Mills said he hopes that this exchange will improve and increase public access for people on Blue River along with public hunting access along Trough Road.
“We’ve coordinated closely with local governments, other agencies and the public, and negotiated with the proponent to ensure that the land exchange benefits the public interest,” Mills said.
The final impact statement will be open for a 30-day review period through Aug. 2. A final decision won’t be issued until after the review period.
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A Forest Service employee had a close call during Thursday’s flash flooding in Grand County, leading to an evacuation via helicopter.