Blue Valley Ranch and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are engaged in a process to exchange private land parcels for public lands.
Once completed, the land exchange will meet several objectives established by the BLM to promote more effective natural resource management on public lands and make those lands more accessible to the public. The exchange will also create new recreational features along the Blue River for the public.
The mission of Blue Valley Ranch is conservation and agriculture. The Ranch lies adjacent to public lands along the Blue River in Grand and Summit counties. In addition, there are BLM parcels that sit within the Ranch’s boundaries. Some of those parcels are surrounded by private land and are inaccessible to the public. Additionally, there are public lands that are not accessible to the public because entry would require crossing private property. Once completed, the proposed exchange will consolidate both public and private lands so the BLM and Blue Valley Ranch can better manage them.
The land exchange will create new opportunities for public access to both the river and adjacent land. To take immediate advantage of these opportunities, Blue Valley Ranch has proposed a series of design features that it will pay for as part of the exchange. These proposed recreational design features include improvements such as: stream habitat enhancements near the confluence of the Blue and Colorado rivers with wheelchair accessible fishing access; creation of a picnic area and a walking trail; a new take-out for rafts and kayaks on the Blue River near the Colorado; a seasonal take-out and rest stop at Spring Creek Bridge on the Blue River; and a recreation trail into the lower Green Mountain Canyon north of Green Mountain Reservoir. These and other proposed features will make it possible to take advantage of the opportunities made possible by the Blue Valley Ranch Land Exchange.
There is detailed information regarding the proposed land exchange, the associated design features for recreational access, and much more on this website.
Thank you for your interest in the proposed Blue Valley Ranch Exchange.
KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT THE EXCHANGE.
- Blue Valley Ranch (“BVR”) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) have worked together to create a fair and mutually beneficial land exchange. Under the proposed exchange, nine parcels of Federal land managed by BLM totaling 1,489 acres will be traded to BVR in exchange for nine parcels of private land totaling 1,832 acres. Before the exchange can be completed BLM must determine that the exchange is in the public interest, and appraisals prepared by the Federal government must show that the value of the exchange parcels are approximately equal.
- This exchange meets the planning and management objectives of the BLM to promote more effective natural resource management on public lands. For BVR and the Federal Government, the land exchange creates boundaries that make the management of both public and private land more effective and efficient.
- BVR has proposed certain design features intended to provide the public enhanced access to the Blue River for a variety of recreational activities. These features would be paid for by BVR. They include:
- Creation of the Confluence Recreation Area that will include a picnic area, walking trails, a take-out for river floaters, wheelchair-accessible fishing access and significant fishery habitat enhancements to this stretch of the Blue River near its confluence with the Colorado River.
- Development of a seasonal take-out and rest stop at Spring Creek Road Bridge.
- Establishment of the Green Mountain Canyon Trailhead.
- Anglers will enjoy greater access to the Lower Blue River under the exchange. In the lower (northern) Green Mountain Canyon fishermen will enjoy new and greatly enhanced access to over a mile of river with a healthy brown trout fishery. Land ownership patterns and natural barriers have historically impeded pedestrian access to this reach of the Blue. Near the confluence of the Blue and Colorado Rivers, Blue Valley Ranch is proposing significant fishery habitat improvements to a half-mile of the Blue River as part of the proposed Confluence Recreation Area. The benefits of those river habitat improvements will enhance the fishery for another mile, all the way to the confluence of the Blue and Colorado rivers. Altogether, the Blue Valley Land Exchange will provide the public a net gain of approximately 2.3 miles of greatly enhanced fishing opportunities.
- When the exchange is completed, hunters will enjoy a net gain of approximately 3,000 acres of land available for hunting. This total includes 442 acres of BLM land that was previously inaccessible and approximately 1,400 acres of public land that is currently difficult to access.
- The exchange provides for public net gains in sage grouse habitat, mule deer winter range (net gains of approximately 300 and 500 acres respectively), and riparian areas. All of the new public land created by the exchange will have good public access.
- Blue Valley Ranch has an excellent record for conservation and wildlife management. Wildlife and conservation practices on the ranch have resulted in improved bird, fish and big game habitat on the ranch and land adjacent to the ranch.
Blue Valley Ranch is dedicated to preserving the open space and vistas of the Lower Blue Valley. There are no plans to develop any portion of the ranch, including the parcels added through the exchange. The ranch is committed to maintaining the property in its natural state as a working ranch and as wildlife habitat. The mission of Blue Valley Ranch is agriculture and conservation.
- For more than 20 years, Blue Valley Ranch has worked hard to be a good neighbor and make a positive impact on Grand and Summit Counties. The Ranch has approached the BLM land exchange with the same philosophy. As in previous projects, BVR is committed to a positive outcome that represents the shared values of the greater community. As an example, this philosophy was represented by the instrumental role the Blue Valley Ranch played in the State Highway 9, Colorado River South Wildlife and Safety Improvement Project. Work on that exciting project will be completed in 2016.
BLUE VALLEY RANCH PARCEL VIEW
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What does Blue Valley Ranch get out of this exchange?
A. The primary mission of the Ranch is conservation. Conservation of wildlife and ecosystems has been proven to be more successful on a landscape scale. Consolidation of ranch lands separated by isolated federal in-holdings will allow landscape scale conservation and will enhance the Ranch’s ability to effectively manage wildlife, water and land. It is important to remember that the Blue Valley Ranch is only trying to consolidate holdings within its existing footprint.
Q: Blue Valley Ranch says the goal of the land exchange is to consolidate land ownership patterns. If that’s true, why is the rest of Parcel 10 not included in the exchange? Why does the ranch insist on keeping this little piece of land?It would give the public greater access to the Blue River if it were included in the exchange.
A. The ranch is an agricultural operation. Retaining this small parcel is vital to the agricultural operation because it is the staging area for the maintenance of two river diversions and an irrigation ditch. It is important for the ranch to maintain control over these facilities.
Send comments you’d like to share with Blue Valley Ranch on the land exchange.
The Kremmling Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management has additional information on the Blue Valley Land Exchange at their website.