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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
 
Release Date: 05/08/12
Contacts: David Boyd, Public Affairs Specialist (970) 876-9008    

BLM seeks public comment on proposed Sutey Ranch land exchange (05-08-12)


SILT, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on the proposed Sutey Ranch land exchange in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties.

Maps and details about the potential land exchange, which is being facilitated by Western Land Group, are available at www.blm.gov/co/crvfo. BLM will host a public open house meeting May 31 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Carbondale Town Hall, 511 Colorado Ave., to provide information and answer questions about the proposal.

Under the proposal, BLM would acquire the 557-acre Sutey Ranch adjacent to the popular Red Hill Special Recreation Area in Garfield County, including the historic water rights from the ranch. BLM would also receive 117 acres in Pitkin County along Prince Creek Road adjacent to The Crown area. This private parcel is a highly popular area with mountain bikers and is used to access BLM roads and trails.

The BLM would exchange three parcels totaling 1,268 acres in Pitkin County south of Carbondale that are mostly surrounded by private land and are difficult for the public to access. These parcels would be transferred to the Two Shoes Ranch. In Eagle County, BLM would exchange three parcels totaling 195 acres on Horse Mountain southwest of Eagle which has little public access. This parcel would be transferred to the Lady Belle Ranch. 

Conservation easements that would prevent development from occurring on the lands that would become private would be placed simultaneously at closing by Two Shoes Ranch and Lady Belle Ranch. BLM would also receive a $1.1 million donation from the land exchange proponents – $100,000 to cover BLM’s cost to develop a site-specific management plan for the newly acquired parcels, and $1 million for their long-term management.

“BLM will only go forward with a land exchange if it is in the public’s interest,” said BLM Colorado River Valley Field Manager Steve Bennett. “We’ll take a broad range of interests into account as part of our detailed evaluation process, and we need to hear about any specific concerns or issues.  The more specific the feedback, the more effective it will be.”

After the public comment period closes, BLM will begin an Environmental Assessment of the proposal. A final decision is currently expected in 2013.

“It’s important to remember that BLM land exchanges are evaluated based on the value of the lands involved – they are not straight acre-for-acre exchanges,” Bennett said.

BLM will accept comments through June 20, 2012. Comments can be e-mailed to BLM_CO_SI_CRVFO_Webmail@blm.gov or mailed to BLM, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652, Attn: Sutey Ranch Land Exchange.

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

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Proposed Sutey Ranch Land Exchange

What is being proposed?

BLM would acquire:
• The 557-acre Sutey Ranch adjacent to the popular Red Hill Special Recreation Area in Garfield County, including the historic water rights from the ranch.
• 117 acres in Pitkin County along Prince Creek Road near the Crown. This private parcel is a highly popular area with mountain bikers and is used to access BLM roads and trails.
• A $100,000 donation from the proponents to develop a site-specific management plan for the newly acquired land
• A $1 million donation from the proponents for the long-term management of the newly acquired land
BLM would exchange:
• Three parcels totaling 1,268 acres in Pitkin County south of Carbondale. These parcels are mostly or entirely surrounded by private land and extremely difficult for the public to access. They receive little to no public use.
• Three parcels totaling 195 acres on Horse Mountain southwest of Eagle which have little public access.

Who is proposing this exchange?
The proposed exchange is being facilitated by Western Land Group. The Pitkin County parcels that would become private land would be acquired by the Two Shoes Ranch, which largely surrounds the parcels. The Eagle County parcel would be acquired by the adjacent Lady Belle Ranch.

All lands that would become private under this proposal would carry a conservation easement protecting them from future development.

Why isn’t the acreage being exchanged the same?
Land exchanges are conducted on a value-for-value basis, not an acre-for-acre. This is because the value of land varies greatly based on its location and development potential.

How will BLM evaluate this proposal?
BLM follows a detailed process for proposed land exchanges. The ultimate question that must be satisfied is whether the exchange is in the public’s benefit.

BLM will analyze the values traded for the values acquired. This includes detailed surveys for rare plants and wildlife, cultural resources, and hazardous materials on all the lands involved. The lands will be appraised for their monetary value as well.
As part of this evaluation, BLM will conduct an Environmental Analysis.

Public comment is a critical piece of evaluating whether the exchange is a benefit to the public.

How can I comment?
BLM will accept comments through June 20, 2012. Comments can be e-mailed to BLM_CO_SI_CRVFO_Webmail@blm.gov or mailed to BLM, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652, Attn: Sutey Ranch Land Exchange.

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

How can I make my comment most effective?

Specific comments are the most effective. Tell BLM what you think about this exchange, and why. Be as detailed as possible. What information or issues do you think BLM needs to consider when conducting this evaluation and Environmental Analysis? Is there information you think BLM needs to know to fairly evaluate this proposal?

When does BLM expect to make a decision?

We currently expect a final decision about whether or not to proceed with the exchange in early 2013. If the decision is to go forward with the exchange, closing on the exchange would follow shortly after that. Land exchange evaluations are complex, and it is not unusual for the process to take longer than first anticipated.

How would BLM manage the newly acquired lands?

BLM would develop a site-specific management plan for these lands if they were acquired. Public participation would be a key part of developing that management plan.

How will BLM use the donation money?

$100,000 would specifically be donated to develop the site-specific management plan. BLM is exploring options for how to manage the $1 million donation to ensure the best return for the public and management of the area.

Will BLM consider suggestions for additional lands to be included in this proposal?

Land exchange acreages are based on land value. An appraisal of all proposed parcels will be conducted as part of the evaluation process. If the appraised value showed inequity in favor of the proponent, BLM could suggest additional acreage be included. However, it is likely the land appraisals for this proposal will show the exchange to favor the public, even without the $1.1 million donation. It is unlikely that additional lands would be considered as part of this proposal.


Why does BLM consider these types of land exchanges?

BLM manages a number of small, isolated parcels across the West that have little or no public access. These are typically very difficult for BLM to manage and have little benefit for the public. BLM considers opportunities to exchange these difficult-to-manage areas for areas that would potentially offer more benefit to the public. The long, extensive process to evaluate such proposals is in place to ensure land exchanges that are approved are indeed in the public’s interest.



The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
--BLM--

  2300 River Frontage Road      Silt, CO 81652  

Last updated: 05-08-2012