Letter to the Editor: The land swap on the Lower Blue River leaves unanswered questions | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: The land swap on the Lower Blue River leaves unanswered questions

Howard Brown

Saturday’s front page Summit Daily News article about the proposed Lower Blue River land swap covers a lot of ground but leaves a lot of seemingly basic questions unanswered — or even asked.

Maybe I missed an earlier article, but it also would have been nice to have covered such an important topic a little sooner than 19 days before the end of the final opportunity for public comment. The most glaring omission — and hopefully not the elephant in the room — is who owns Blue Valley Ranch? The Ranch is the apparent initiator of the swap and the key party. If, as the article indicates, it is a single individual, their identity might significantly impact how people feel about the proposed swap or raise other questions? Does this mysterious landowner have connections to any of the politicians or bureaucrats involved? Who might inherit the ranch? 

The article also never brings up obvious questions about simple possibilities to make the deal a better one.

Would our mystery person be willing to grant an access easement for a path to the newly private portion of the river? Would he or she allow boaters and fisherman to walk along the riverbank? If, as the article suggests, the ranch claims its “primary mission” is conservation, would our mystery owner be willing to grant a conservation easement to Trout Unlimited or a land conservancy? He or she could save some tax money — and assure us that the consolidated land is not a future high-end subdivision. 

Boating is a primary recreational use. How do river-running organizations feel? Would any current or potential commercial outfitters be affected? Clearly an environmental impact statement is needed, as are basic questions and answers about the proposed swap.

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