BLM’s Sutey Ranch plan limits recreational use seasonally | PostIndependent.com

BLM’s Sutey Ranch plan limits recreational use seasonally

Mountain biking would only be allowed June 1-Sept. 30

A horseback rider on the Sutey Ranch parcel north of Carbondale, which is the subject of a new BLM management and use plan.
Courtesy Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council
Highlights of the proposed Sutey Ranch plan
• Balances seasonal protections for wintering concentrations of wildlife with access for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking
• Protects wintering big game by seasonally restricting human disturbance between Dec. 1 and April 15
• Provides forage for wintering big game by maintaining irrigated fields
• Reduces conflicts among recreational user groups by designating seasons of use (hiking and equestrian from April 16 to November 30; mountain biking from June 1 to September 30)
• Identifies the Sutey Ranch as a reserve common allotment for livestock grazing (could be temporarily used under specific circumstances)
• Guides subsequent implementation decisions that will address development of equestrian parking facilities, designated trail locations, and a mountain bike access route to the adjacent Red Hill SRMA
Highlights of the Haines parcel proposal
• Becomes part of the adjacent Crown Special Recreation Management Area emphasizing mountain biking
• Continues the seasonal livestock grazing that had been occurring when it was in private land by adding it to the Prince Creek Grazing Allotment
• Continues the seven-mile trail system the BLM designated in February 2018, including designating new trails and closing existing trails that trespass on private land.
Source: BLM proposed management plan

Mountain biking would be limited to four months of the year under a Bureau of Land Management proposal released Friday to manage the recently acquired Sutey Ranch property north of Carbondale.

The plan, which is now subject to a 30-day formal protest period, proposes to reduce conflicts among recreational user groups by designating seasons of use.

Hiking and equestrian use would be allowed from April 16 to Nov. 30, and mountain biking would be limited to the period from June 1 to Sept. 30 each year.

In addition, the area would be closed to human use altogether from Dec. 1 to April 15 in an effort to protect wintering big game.

The BLM on Friday announced its proposed plan for managing the 557-acre Sutey Ranch property, as well as the 112-acre Haines parcel in the Prince Creek area south of Carbondale that would be incorporated into the existing Prince Creek/Crown Mountain trail system.

Adjacent to the Red Hill Special Recreation Area roughly four miles north of Carbondale, the BLM acquired the Sutey property in March 2017 through a land exchange involving the Two Shoes Ranch south of Carbondale.

According to a news release out of the BLM’s Colorado River Valley Field Office, under the proposed plan for the Sutey parcel the BLM would maintain irrigated fields during the warmer months to provide forage for big game.

The proposed plan would allow public access between April 16 and Nov. 30, but not during the winter season to avoid wildlife disturbances.

In addition, the Sutey property could be temporarily used for livestock grazing under specific circumstances, by permit, according to the management proposal.

“The acquisition of these parcels has expanded outdoor recreation and access in the Roaring Fork Valley, and acquisition of the Sutey Ranch specifically ensures critical habitat for wintering big game,” Rob Berger, acting BLM Colorado River Valley field manager, stated in the news release.

According to the release, “The Haines parcel would be included in the adjacent Crown Special Recreation Management Area with an emphasis on mountain bike recreation.”

Friday’s announcement initiates a 30-day public protest period. Protests need to be received by March 18 and may be emailed to blm_co_sutey_haines_rmpa@blm.gov or mailed to BLM, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652, Attn: Sutey Ranch Management Plan.