Sutey Ranch Land Exchange
The Bureau of Land Management completed the Sutey Ranch Land Exchange March 27, 2017.
What was exchanged?
Under the land exchange, the public will acquire:
- The 557-acre Sutey Ranch adjacent to the popular Red Hill Special Recreation Area in Garfield County, including the historic water shares from the ranch.
- 112 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 (to Aspen Valley Land Trust).
The BLM will exchange:
- Three parcels totaling 1,269 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 201 acres on Horse Mountain southwest of Eagle, which have little public access.
Who proposed the exchange?
The Western Land Group is facilitating the exchange. The Pitkin County parcels that would become private would be acquired by the Two Shoes Ranch, which largely surrounds the parcels. The Eagle County parcel would be acquired by the Lady Belle Partnership LLLP.
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, not acre-for-acre, basis. This is because the value of land varies greatly based on its location and development potential. Land appraisals show the public would receive land with a much higher appraisal value than the land that would be exchanged. Because the value of the land is so much higher, the proponents are actually donating 235 acres (valued at $2.24 million) of the 668 acres that the public will acquire.
How will the BLM manage the newly acquired lands?
The BLM would develop a site-specific management plan for these lands. Public participation would be a key part of developing that management plan.
How will the BLM use the donation money?
The proponents would donate $100,000 specifically to develop the site specific management plan and $1 million to the Aspen Valley Land Trust to hold in perpetuity for the BLM's long-term management of the newly acquired properties.
Why does the BLM consider these types of land exchanges?
The BLM considers opportunities to exchange 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 such land exchanges are indeed in the public interest.