BLM finalizes Carbondale-area recreation management plan, including Sutey restrictions
The Bureau of Land Management finalized the management plan for the Sutey Ranch and Haines parcels near Carbondale, which includes closing the entire section to human use and limiting certain activities to specific times of the year to limit impacts on wildlife.
The BLM acquired the lands through the Sutey Ranch Land Exchange in 2017, adding a total 669 acres of public land north of Carbondale and the Red Hill Special Recreation Area.
“Today’s decision by the BLM demonstrates our commitment to expanding public access for recreational opportunities on public lands,” recently appointed new Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.
“The close collaboration with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to emphasize wildlife habitat on the Sutey Ranch parcel exemplifies the effectiveness of working together toward a shared conservation stewardship,” he said.
The Sutey parcel will be closed to human disturbance between Dec. 1 and April 15, and the BLM will provide forage to wintering big game by maintaining irrigated fields.
From April 16 to Nov. 30 each year, the trails will be open for hiking and equestrian use, and mountain biking will be restricted to between June 1 and Sept. 30.
The management plan will guide how the BLM develops equestrian parking facilities, trails and mountain bike routes for the Red Hill Special Recreation Management area, according to a fact sheet on the decision.
In addition, the Haines Parcel south of Carbondale along Prince Creek becomes part of The Crown Special Recreation Management Area, focusing on mountain bike recreation. The existing seven-mile trail system the BLM designated in February 2018 will be carried forward.
“This final plan emphasizes public access balanced with seasonal protections for wintering concentrations of wildlife,” BLM Colorado State Director Jamie Connell said in a statement. “We appreciate the many people who contributed their thoughts and ideas for this plan.”
In a statement, Will Roush of Carbondale-based public lands advocacy group Wilderness Workshop praised the focus on wildlife in the plan.
“It is great to see BLM prioritize wildlife habitat in their finalized plan for the Sutey Ranch. While BLM didn’t take advantage of all the management opportunities to protect wildlife, the on-ground benefits are impressive and needed to protect animals that are at threat from increasing human use of important habitat like winter range,” Roush said, pointing to the winter closure to human disturbance as particularly promising.
“I hope this is a clear indication of a renewed focus by BLM on protecting wildlife,” Roush said.
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