Letter to the editor: In defense of the BLM land swap | SkyHiNews.com

Letter to the editor: In defense of the BLM land swap

As a lifelong advocate for healthy fisheries and public access to those fisheries, I want to express my support for the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the Blue Valley land exchange and make it clear that everything promised in the land exchange will get done.

When I read the Sky-Hi News report on the announcement, I was concerned about what sounded like criticism from Colorado Wild Public Lands, which has a track record of being skeptical of all land exchanges. I have studied the Blue Valley land exchange for years as its features have evolved through negotiation and recommendations from many stakeholders. Any suggestion that the public will never see the benefits detailed in the exchange documents is not true. The Blue River restoration project upstream from the Colorado and Lower Blue river confluence and the many new recreation features in the exchange package are guaranteed to occur when the exchange is completed. BLM’s record of decision clearly states that, at closing, Blue Valley Ranch must post a performance bond to cover the cost of all improvements and funding for an endowment to cover the long-term operation and maintenance of the recreation features. Grand County estimates these investments will exceed $2 million. Not a penny of taxpayer money will be spent.

Upstream, below Green Mountain Dam, the land exchange will unlock access to a mile and a half of Gold Medal river in Green Mountain Canyon. That means more public access to the river for more people.

Any objective, fair-minded reading of the Blue Valley land exchange leads to the conclusion that it is overwhelmingly in the public interest.

Kirk Klancke
Trout Unlimited, Colorado River Headwaters Chapter president

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