Letter: Edinger discusses land exchange

Dear Editor:
I am writing this letter to inform the public that there is a land exchange being discussed in our area. It is a potential exchange between the BLM and Buffalo Horn Ranch. There has been a lot of misinformation or false rumors swirling around so I thought I would try to clear the facts up a little. Many folks that I have talked to are in favor of the exchange for the following reasons.
The heart of the exchange is a 1,835 acre private parcel and a 1,759 acre BLM parcel. There are some smaller parcels that can be used to even out the value as this exchange will be based on appraised value rather than acreage amounts. The link at the end of this paragraph will allow you to see a map of all the parcels and a large amount of information about the exchange, including the BLM Environmental Assessment that outlines a couple different options. The link is go.usa.gov/xnw2y
As a brief overview, the main objective of this exchange is to allow both parties to better manage their parcels and provide much greater public access to the Windy Gulch and Black Mountain study areas. It is estimated that acquiring the private parcel in between these two study areas will open up some 20,000 plus acres for increased access for many outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking and camping, etc. This area is only about 10 miles west of Meeker, thus making it an easy to get to destination when time is a concern.
The BLM parcel is extremely difficult to get to, with a 6-10 mile hike around private property from two access points. The difficulty in access and steep terrain provide little benefit to the public. This parcel borders Buffalo Horn Ranch. That is why they are willing to exchange these two parcels.
Although there was a public notice two weeks ago, I wanted to again remind the public that public input is being requested so that everyone can have a voice in determining the best direction for the proposed exchange. The BLM is taking public comments on this exchange through June 6. Whether you are in favor of the exchange or have some concerns please email your comment so it can be considered. The BLM has requested that you be detailed in your comments so they can properly gauge interest or address concerns. Also, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call the contacts below.
BLM: Heather Sauls at 970-878-3800, or Buffalo Horn Ranch: Grant Edinger at 970-878-5450.

Grant Edinger
Buffalo Horn Ranch Manager