Partnership hopes to preserve fishing access near Carbondale |

Partnership hopes to preserve fishing access near Carbondale

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – A partnership of municipal, county and state funding organizations is working together to buy a strip of land along the Roaring Fork River to preserve fishing access for the public.

The land, approximately 7.8 acres owned by Stanley and Valerie Koziel, stretches for roughly 1,300 linear feet along the river, from the Highway 133 bridge to the north.

It includes the land now occupied by a truck turnaround and a boat ramp, as well as an upper bench used for trailers and campers, known as the Sopris RV Park, according to Carbondale Recreation Director Jeff Jackel.

Jackel said recently that the town’s attempts to buy the parcel go back to 2006, when it was first listed for $2.5 million.

At the height of the area’s recent real estate boom, he said, the price got as high as $3.5 million. But, he added, a recent appraisal obtained by the town indicated the property’s value has fallen, though Jackel would not reveal the details of the appraisal.

He said that the land is not currently listed, but he believes the owners remain interested in selling.

The town, through grants and contributions, has raised a total of $2.5 million, and will be making an offer soon, Jackel told the Garfield County commissioners.

Addressing the commissioners on March 26, County Manager Ed Green noted that the county had first agreed three years ago to help with the purchase. The commissioners concluded that they would honor the offer as it was tendered originally, although they emphasized the contribution could only be used if the purchase goes through.

“Whether I like it or not … you guys made the commitment,” said Commissioner Mike Samson, who was not on the board when the county made the offer.

The county is kicking in $100,000, and Jackel said that he has secured $950,000 in grants from the state Division of Wildlife and $1 million from the Great Outdoors Colorado lottery fund.

In addition, he said, the town of Carbondale is putting $450,000 into the deal.

According to Jackel, the uses of the property will be recreational, based on a master plan he hopes to draw up with the agreement of the town’s partners in the purchase.

He said the boat ramp ultimately is to be paved, along with a parking area, and that a riverside trail will be maintained for fishermen.

Jackel also hopes to retain the camping uses, although all of it will need to be studied as the master plan is drawn up.

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