San Juan National Forest – Proposed Roadless Area Boundary Modification

The Forest Service proposes to modify the South San Juan Adjacent Roadless Area and Turkey Creek Roadless Area boundaries, in the San Juan National Forest, to remove 176 acres of federal land to be conveyed to non-federal parties for the proposed Valle Seco land exchange. Removing lands from the Colorado Roadless Area designation would increase fragmentation and remove protection.

There is a 90-day public notice and opportunity to comment from publication of notice. Comments are due in early February 2020, addressed to Becca Smith, San Juan National Forest, PO Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or via email to rebecca.smith@usda.gov.

Proposed Land Transfer from the BLM to the Colorado State Land Board

COWPL has submitted comments for the scoping phase of the proposed transfer by the BLM of approximately 17,700 acres of federal surface/federal mineral estate, and an additional 6,000 acres of federal mineral estate only, in 16 counties, to the Colorado State Land Board. The Federal government want to settle a historic debt for 9,900 acres. Comments submitted will inform the next phase of the BLM’s NEPA process. The BLM identified preliminary issues through internal scoping. Our comments addressed those issues as well as:

  • Increase public outreach and provide further information.
  • Provide the rationale for calculating the value or amount of land that is owed by the Colorado BLM to the State of Colorado today.
  • In a statewide project, parcel specific information can be overlooked. Provide in-depth analysis of the natural and cultural attributes, and existing and proposed uses, of each of the parcels under consideration.

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Valle Seco COWPL Comments Submitted

COWPL has submitted comments on the proposed Valle Seco Land Exchange. Comments will inform the next phase of the Forest’s NEPA analysis of the proposal. COWPL identified a range of topics including the following:

  • Public access, recreation and natural and cultural values need further analysis.
  • Mitigation and management techniques should be described.
  • Current land appraisals of the properties should be made available to the public and future appraisals should utilize multiple techniques to fully consider the value of the lands.
  • Include detailed analysis of alternatives to "The Proposed Action" and "No Action".

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Valle Seco Comments Due Dec. 13

The SJNF is soliciting input to inform their environmental analysis of this proposed exchange that will document potential impacts to the physical, human, and biological environment.

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Appeal Of BLM-Wexner Land Swap Near Carbondale In Judge's Hands

A court case challenging the exchange of public lands on the lower slopes of Mount Sopris to a private landholder for the Sutey Ranch north of Carbondale is in a judge's hands.

Colorado Wild Public Lands Inc. made its final argument Aug. 20 to try to convince a federal judge to nullify the land swap by the Bureau of Land Management with Leslie and Abigail Wexner. The judge's decision could come any day.

Read the full article by Scott Condon in the November 4 issue of the Aspen Times.

Sutey Management Plan Environmental Assessment Comments Due Nov. 5

The Sutey Management Plan Environmental Assessment comments are due today, Monday November 5. The BLM's preferred Alternative 1 provides the most wildlife protection and that is the alternative we are encouraging the Agency to implement.

Email your comments to blm_co_sutey_haines_rmpa@blm.gov or mail to BLM, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652, Attn: Sutey/Haines Management Plan.

See COWPL's letter at: Sutey EA Response 110118

Blue Valley Proposed Land Exchange EIS & Comments Submitted

The proposed Blue Valley land exchange would privatize 15 linear miles of river frontage on the Blue River, a Gold Medal trout stream, just north of Silverthorne. In June, we submitted comments on the BLM's draft Environmental Impact Statement expressing our concern about loss of public access, riverfront parcels, public land with high natural resource values, and questions of land valuations. Read the comments COWPL submitted at 2018 BVR DEIS COWPL Comments 062218.

See more about the proposed land exchange and the draft EIS on the BLM's website.

Buffalo Horn Land Exchange EA & Comments Submitted

The issue in this proposed Buffalo Horn land exchange near Meeker is whether the BLM will gain hunting grounds that are equal in quality to those they propose to trade away; and concern over the proposed reduction of the grazing rights of several family ranches. In May, we analyzed the alternatives, submitted comments and recommended that the proposed exchange would not be in the public interest. Read our comments at Buffalo Horn LEX EA Comments from COWPL_060618. w EXHIBITS.
See more details on the proposed land exchange on the BLM's website.