BLM buys Dotsero Landing rec site to protect Colo. River access | SummitDaily.com

BLM buys Dotsero Landing rec site to protect Colo. River access

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

On Feb. 7, the Bureau of Land Management acquired the Dotsero Landing Recreation Site on the Upper Colorado River from Eagle County Open Space, ensuring long-term public access to the Colorado River while returning funding to the county open-space program for additional acquisitions, according to a release from the local BLM office.

The BLM, in cooperation with The Conservation Fund, used $526,000 from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire the property.

"This is really the culmination of the vision of Eagle County leadership: to buy property along the Colorado River to increase public access, develop necessary facilities, then convey the property to BLM for long-term management," said Toby Sprunk, open space director for Eagle County.

The BLM and Eagle County Open Space have been partnering since 2011 to manage the Dotsero Landing and other recreation sites on the Colorado River, the release continued. Eagle County Open Space acquired the 8.25-acre parcel from a private holder in 2011, when the public was about to lose the original public access point at Dotsero because of a bridge reconstruction project.

"The potential impact of losing river access at Dotsero was huge. It's an important public access point for float-boating and fishing in the Upper Colorado River Special Recreation Management Area," said Shonna Dooman, acting field manager for the BLM's Colorado River Valley office. "Without Eagle County Open Space, the public would have lost river access in this area."

In Summit County, several contested BLM parcels were slated for private sale until public outcry shot down the proposal. Those parcels are now protected for the near future.

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"The open space program had the flexibility to move quickly to purchase the property and make improvements," Sprunk said. "Through this purchase, the BLM — the agency with the expertise for long-term management of Colorado River recreation sites — acquires the property through The Conservation Fund and Eagle County Open Space recovers funding to be used for new acquisitions."

The 85-mile stretch of river in the Upper Colorado River SRMA receives more than 75,000 visitors each year. Key access points like Dotsero Landing help distribute recreational use throughout the SRMA, reducing crowding and impacts to sites.