Blue Valley Ranch land exchange in Colorado proceeds to next steps


Bureau of Land Management-Colorado

KREMMLING, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management is completing a proposed land exchange with the Blue Valley Ranch in order to increase public access for fishing, hunting, and other recreation in Grand and Summit counties, Colorado.

“I spent many days over the past 20 years enjoying the Blue River in my kayak and with my fly rod. I am excited that access to this magnificent stretch of river will be improved for people of all abilities who wish to visit the area to enjoy the scenery, boat, fish, hike, or hunt,” said BLM Colorado State Director Doug Vilsack. “We coordinated closely with local governments, other agencies, and the public to ensure that this land exchange provides benefits for all.”

The Blue Valley Ranch land exchange decision authorizes the BLM to exchange nine parcels of federal land totaling 1,489 acres in Grand County for nine parcels acres of private land totaling 1,830 acres in Grand and Summit counties.

The exchange expands access along about a mile of the Blue River near its confluence with the Colorado River, plus an additional 1.66 miles of hike-in access to the Blue River that is currently inaccessible except by floating. The exchange consolidates public land and transfers small, isolated public land parcels that have little to no public access, and results in a net gain of 341 public land acres.

“Access to and preservation of our outdoor spaces remains a high priority for Summit County, which is why we continue to be a strong supporter of this exchange.  We are anxious to see it get underway so that our citizens and recreationalists may enjoy the many benefits, including river restoration, public open space, and more walk-in access to the Blue River,” said Summit County Board of Commissioners Chair Tamara Pogue.

Grand County commissioners stated the county continues to strongly support the exchange and local communities look forward to the many public benefits it will bring, including the new Confluence Recreation Area near Kremmling funded by Blue Valley Ranch.

Colorado Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Dan Gibbs said, “We appreciate the work of the Colorado Bureau of Land Management and other local stakeholders in enabling this new access and recreation opportunity along the Blue River. The Blue River is treasured by Summit and Grand County residents and all Coloradans. This Land Exchange will provide new improvements along the river benefiting our wildlife, increased access to the river for rafts and kayaks, include wheelchair access, and other amenities to ensure Coloradans can enjoy this fantastic stretch of the Blue River for generations to come.”

“The Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited has supported this land exchange because the Blue Valley Ranch has given up so many concessions that are either good for fishing access or for the Blue and Colorado Rivers. The most important concession for us was the almost 1 mile of river improvement project just before the confluence of the Blue and Colorado Rivers,” said Trout Unlimited Colorado River Headwaters Chapter President Kirk Klancke. “This project will have positive impacts on the aquatic ecosystem in this stream and reach downstream on the Colorado River. We are a project-based organization and raising funds and overseeing projects consumes most of our effort. We applaud the BVR for helping us with this work by improving this stream reach. This puts the headwaters of the Colorado River one mile closer to returning to a healthy aquatic ecosystem.”

Land ownership and public access at Blue Valley Ranch will not change until the BLM and ranch owner Galloway Inc. formally close on the exchange. More information and maps of the proposed land exchange is available at the BLM National NEPA Register.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.