Steamboat Springs The Bureau of Land Management has formally closed on a more than 4,100-acre Emerald Mountain parcel, receiving in exchange 123 Routt County land parcels totaling more than 15,000 acres.
The public will have access to the Emerald Mountain parcel, but the access will remain limited to day-use for now. Foot traffic and dogs on leashes are permitted.
These provisions will remain in place to protect the area's resource value in the interim until a detailed recreation plan for the area is completed, said an official with the BLM.
"We've been working toward this for a number of years," said John Husband, field manager of the BLM Little Snake Field Office in Craig. "Emerald Mountain is now public land that will be enjoyed for generations to come."
Eventually, the BLM Little Snake Office will manage the parcel as a Special Recreation Management Area with two zones each targeting different non-motorized recreation opportunities.
One zone will emphasize strenuous activities such as mountain biking and cross-country skiing. The other zone will emphasize wildlife viewing, hiking, horseback riding and hunting.
The detailed recreation plan will be developed within several months in cooperation with the Emerald Mountain Partnership, the city of Steamboat Springs and other partners, the BLM said.
The BLM acquired the 4,239-acre Emerald Mountain parcel from the Colorado State Land Board on Thursday in exchange for 123 isolated parcels totaling 15,416 acres in Routt County.
Before being acquired by the BLM, the Emerald Mountain Parcel was slated to be sold to generate revenue for public schools.
Through a multi-party exchange facilitated by the Western Land Group, the parcels previously owned by BLM will be sold to private landowners, primarily to area livestock permittees for grazing, with the revenue going to the State Land Board to benefit public schools.
For more information about Emerald Mountain, visit the Little Snake Field Office at www.co.blm.gov/lsra or call 826-5000.