The BLM actually makes it sound like it may be a better deal for all of us... better access at the kayaker take out, maybe even let rafters take out there, along with picnic tables and a restroom. Plus a new take out at the confluence. And foot access to 1.66 miles of river frontage.... which is more than we have now...
I know there have been rumors about trespassing issues with the ranch, but I've never encountered any or heard any first hand accounts. I think the take out they've built for kayakers is really nice, and by the sounds of it they are going to improve that take out and add another near the confluence, along with day use amenities.
At first glance, it looks like a win win, especially if they're going to provide funding for continued maintenance on the improvements.
What are the public access trade-offs of this proposed land exchange?
Under the proposed land exchange, the BLM would exchange 0.31 miles of frontage on the Blue River and acquire 0.97 miles of Blue River frontage. The public would also gain foot access to an additional 1.66 miles of river frontage, which is currently inaccessible by means other than floating.
The public would see a net gain of approximately 1,182 acres available for hunting. The exchange would result in net gains of more than 500 acres of mule deer winter range and more than 300 acres of priority sage-grouse habitat.
How would the proposed exchange affect floating the Blue River?
The proposed exchange does not involve any public lands currently used by floaters to access the Blue River. Boaters will still be able to float through the Blue Valley Ranch as before. As part of the exchange, Blue Valley Ranch has proposed several design features including construction of a new take-out for floaters near the confluence of the Colorado and Blue Rivers, and a permanent rest stop for floaters with a seasonal toilet on ranch property at Spring Creek Bridge.
Is it appropriate for private landowners to benefit from a trade involving public lands?
Proponents of land exchanges generally make their proposals to benefit their operations and holdings. When the BLM receives a proposal that could potentially benefit the public as well, it may elect to begin a land exchange evaluation process to determine whether the proposed exchange is in the public’s interest. The BLM will only complete a land exchange if it’s determined to be in the public’s interest.
What specific improvements to public lands would Blue Valley Ranch fund as part of this exchange?
1. At Green Mountain (near Parcels 2, 9 and 10) - funding for implementation of road and trail improvements for improved access to Green Mountain and the lower reach of Green Mountain Canyon;
2. Near the Confluence of the Blue and Colorado Rivers (near Parcel
- funding for construction of day use recreational amenities (e.g., picnic benches and wheel chair access improvements at the cottonwood grove, plus, trails, fishing access points, fencing to enclose the animal pasture, and associated irrigation ditch improvements around Parcel
3. Near the Confluence of the Blue and Colorado Rivers (near Parcel
- donation of the seven-acre chevron shaped parcel of land across the river from the cottonwoods;
4. Near the Confluence of the Blue and Colorado Rivers (near Parcel
- funding for implementation of in-stream river and riparian aquatic habitat improvements as shown on the Matrix Design Group drawings; and
5. Funding to cover operational and maintenance costs for the improvements.
What is Blue Valley Ranch proposing on its own land to benefit the public?
Public access to the existing boating take-out on Blue Valley Ranch property at Spring Creek Bridge would become permanent with a perpetual easement for floaters' use as a take-out and a rest-stop. Currently, Blue Valley Ranch voluntarily allows access at this location, which lies just upstream of Parcels G and H. Blue Valley Ranch would also provide funding for construction of permanent day use rest-stop amenities here, such as picnic benches and seasonal toilets.