2016 Proposed Blue Valley Land Exchange Comments Sought - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-12-2016   #1
Arvada (Denver), Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 260
2016 Proposed Blue Valley Land Exchange Comments Sought

BLM Kremmling/Proposed Blue Valley Land Exchange - Proposed Blue Valley Land Exchange


Federal Register Notice

News Release
BLM seeks comment on proposed land exchange in Grand and Summit counties

“We will only complete this exchange if we determine it is in the public’s interest. Land exchanges involve trade-offs, so we want to hear what the public thinks about this proposal,” said BLM Kremmling Field Manager Stephanie Odell, “We are considering this exchange because of the potential to increase public access and important big-game winter range on public lands.”

The BLM will host two public open house meetings to answer questions, provide more information, and take written comments. The first will be May 23 in Silverthorne at the Summit County Library North Branch, 651 Center Circle; the second May 24 in Kremmling at the Grand County Extension on the Fairgrounds. Both meetings will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The public can stop by anytime during the open houses.

Comments need to be received by June 8, 2016 and may be submitted to [email protected], faxed to 970-724-3066, or mailed to 2103 E. Park Avenue, P.O. Box 68, Kremmling, CO 80459.
BLM seeks comment on proposed land exchange in Grand and Summit counties (4.19.16)

Description of parcels (see maps below)




Before and After All Parcels

Green Mountain Area

Confluence Area

Blue Valley Ranch Exchange
Blue Valley Exchange

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Old 05-12-2016   #2
Pieter Porcupine
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 279
Correct me if I am wrong but from what I can read on this map, everything from the Grand/summit county border south along the Blue River is National Forest. Does that mean it is technically open to camping along that section north of the dam and south of the border?


The larger the river of knowledge the longer the shoreline of wonder.
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Old 05-12-2016   #3
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 91
This is not good for boaters

Correct me if I am wrong, but it would appear to me that all the public stops after the canyon would become private property. This means no stopping for about 11 miles of river and thats a lot of river and a lot of time.

For anyone who has boated this stretch this deal is not good for boaters
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Old 05-12-2016   #4
Eagle, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 52
This swap doesn't make sense for blue river recreationalists. The small amount of property that the BLM owns after the canyon should be held onto IMO. I would much rather have a couple slices here and there then nothing at all for 11 miles. Seems like this swap is being proposed just to consolidate the BLM lands which might be good for hunting and such but would have negative impacts on the boating community.
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Old 05-13-2016   #5
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 609
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.
It's a good day to be a duck....
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Old 05-13-2016   #6
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 91
It does sound nice, but for those who float the whole distance, Spring Creek is very far from the takeout for there to be no stopping.

Currently you can not put in at spring creek rd and, from what I see, that will continue. That means going from put in to take out is still just as long a day.

The put in for this stretch is very difficult, as is the take out. However, the swap is not really making this easier... the put in is still a repel for rafts.

Whitewater kayakers would benefit, as they would have a toilet at their take out, but really that is all they get.

I suppose hunters benefit a little bit, but I don't know of anyone who has needed this specific area for an increase in hunting size- are you out there?

As with most Colorado Rivers, the signage for these public parcels sucks. That should be improved, but to lose them is a tragedy.

The BLM website is incorrect that it has no negative effect on fishermen. I stop my boat and wade fish these areas and they fish good. The area below trough road is not a very good fishery. Opening that area up, in my opinion, does equal a better access for fishermen.
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Old 05-14-2016   #7
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,822
Hard to picture any swap these guys propose actually being in the public's interest.

How does owner ship of the hillside change mule deer habitat? Do the deer go around the no trespassing signs currently in place? Is the whole area he plans to share fenced off?

I am suspicious.

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Old 05-15-2016   #8
denver, Colorado
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Another thought, the public would be losing a stretch of accessible (by car) river that already has stream improvements for an area with no stream improvements, but the promise of some in the future.

Again, I truly believe this bad for all us Colorado boaters in the long run.
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Old 05-15-2016   #9
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 91
I maybe having a conversation with myself here, but screw it, I hope that by posting people get involved and take action cause this land swap is not ok. Here are some of the points that stand out to me:

1. As outlined in my previous, the biggest problem for us floaters is there are no stopping points between Spring Creek and the take out if the swap happens. That is a long way.

2. The swap does not mitigate (as far as I am aware) this length of trip difficulty by adding Spring Creek Road as a viable put in.

3. The swap removes areas once accessible as drive in fisheries, with good stream improvement for areas with no stream improvement, only the promise of future improvements.

4. I would need more research/knowledge, but the land swap areas gives away more river-front land than is gained. The value of river front land is way more than any other land. The public, while gaining land, may actually be losing money.

5. According to the math, the public "gains" about 350 acres of land from the swap. However, 120 acres of land comes from Summit County Open Space. So actual public land net gain appears to be about 33% less than advertised (my math could be wrong).

6. Some land public gets is on (top?) of the canyon... not sure who is using that.... to me it would pretty hard land to use, but maybe it is usable for hunters on the eastern side of the canyon.

7. Blue Valley Acres and Skylark Ranch all gain land, while giving none in exchange, including river front property. This strikes me as odd. Again the public loses.

Anyone out there, please email, write, go to the forums next week and speak out against this. Protect our recreation in Colorado
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Old 05-15-2016   #10
SW, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 131
I've seen few land exchanges that either truly benefit the the general public, or in which the taxpayer does not get the losing end of the deal.
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