Proposed Blue River Valley gravel mine riles nearby residents |

Proposed Blue River Valley gravel mine riles nearby residents

Bruce Finley
The Denver Post
The Hillyard property, pictured Wednesday, April 21, north of Silverthorne, is the site of a proposed gravel mine. Owner Peak Materials is working through the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety's permitting process to mine and then reclaim the site.
Photo by Ashley Low


City Market grocery worker Oumar Ba breathed deep in Colorado’s Blue River Valley between wilderness mountains, remembering the beauty of his native Senegal.

“I love the river,” said Ba, 30.

But he also sees benefits of a proposal by Peak Materials to dig a new, 54-acre gravel mine along the river to support construction of roads, buildings and more resort luxury houses in Summit County. “Creates more jobs,” he said.

His mixed feelings about this gravel mine reflect a dilemma that state leaders were navigating in hearings last week: boosting commerce in Summit County versus saving the nature that remains amid Colorado’s growth and development boom. For two decades, this valley has been a focus for state-backed conservation led by landowners who invested millions in protective easements and restoring habitat for wildlife and fish.

But officials with the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety have recommended approval for the gravel mine. The state’s mining board is expected to vote Thursday, April 29, on whether to grant a required state permit — a key step.

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