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Release Date: 07/02/09
Contacts: Erin Curtis, Public Information Officer, (970) 244-3097    

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Commercial Use of San Miguel River Corridor

Montrose, CO -- The Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office is seeking public comment on a proposal to issue new Special Recreation Permits for BLM managed lands in the San Miguel River corridor.  Potential permitted activities would include whitewater boating, float-fishing, walk/wade fishing, and mountain biking.

A temporary moratorium limiting commercial recreation to existing outfitters and use levels was placed on the San Miguel several years ago, pending an environmental analysis to determine if new commercial use is appropriate.  Since then, BLM has developed additional recreation facilities in the corridor improving access and environmental conditions.  In addition, M59 road, which parallels the river in its upper reaches, has been closed to motorized use.  Partially in response to these management changes, BLM has lifted the permit moratorium and is performing an environmental analysis on the effects of additional commercial permits.

The analysis includes BLM lands associated with the river from its upper end at Deep Creek (near Telluride) downriver to its confluence with the Dolores River. Comments must be submitted no later than August 3, 2009. 

“Now that the moratorium on new permits has been lifted, we need to assess the impacts of issuing new permits,” said Barb Sharrow, Uncompahgre Field Office manager. “It’s important that we hear from the public now about any issues or concerns they might have with opening up the river to additional commercial outfitters so that we can address them up front or through the permitting process.”

“Commercial outfitters are required to apply for a permit, and our office will be carefully managing commercial use of this stretch of the river. The environment along the river must be protected, and the recreational experiences for the public must also be considered,” Sharrow said.

According to the proposal, permits would be issued for day use and overnight use.  Camping would be allowed at designated sites only.  Group size would be limited to 25 individuals including clients and guides in all areas, with the following exceptions:

• Group size of 35 for half-day trips between Deep Creek and Norwood Bridge
• Group size of 16 for overnight trips
• Group size of 12 for kayak instruction

The BLM is soliciting comments on the proposal to help identify issues, concerns or alternatives that should be addressed as part of the environmental analysis and decision making process.

Written comments may be submitted by mail, e-mail, or fax.  Further information on how to comment is available online, along with maps of the affected area, at

Send written comments to:

Edd Franz, Outdoor Recreation Planner
Uncompahgre Field Office
2465 South Townsend Ave.
Montrose, Colorado 81401
Fax:  (970) 240-5368

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 sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 07-02-2009