BLM: Land-swap analysis due out in late February

Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – The Bureau of Land Management now expects to release its environmental analysis of a proposed Carbondale-area land swap for public review in late February, according to agency spokesman David Boyd.

Under the proposed land trade, the BLM would acquire the 557-acre Sutey Ranch adjacent to the Red Hill Special Recreation Area in Garfield County, north of Carbondale. The BLM also would receive 112 acres in Pitkin County along Prince Creek Road – a private parcel that is used by the public to access BLM roads and trails on the Crown, a popular recreation area.

The BLM would exchange three parcels totaling 1,269 acres in Pitkin County south of Carbondale, on the flank of Mount Sopris; they would be transferred to the Two Shoes Ranch, which Leslie and Abigail Wexner own.

The BLM also would receive a $1.1 million donation from the Wexners – $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.

The BLM held a public comment period on the trade earlier this year before launching work on the environmental analysis. Once the assessment is released for review, there will be a 30-day public comment period as the next step in the process.

Meanwhile, Pitkin County commissioners have continued to hold closed-door negotiating discussions about the swap while the BLM works on its assessment.